×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Idol’ wins over Oscar in ratings

Last week's tally gives Fox season advantage

The Academy Awards may have drawn the week’s largest overall audience, but “American Idol” topped the kudocast in demos and helped Fox cruise to another ratings victory.

ABC’s coverage of the Oscars hit ratings lows on Sunday (Daily Variety, Feb. 26), according to Nielsen, although it’s still easily the net’s top-rated program of the season (10.7 rating/26 share in adults 18-49, 32.01 million viewers overall).

With “American Idol” accounting for one-third of its schedule, though, a Fox victory was never in doubt, and the Murdoch net prevailed for a seventh consecutive frame in adults 18-49. For the season, Fox, with a 4.3 rating, towers over ABC, CBS and NBC, which are all tied at a 3.1.

Looking at the Feb. 18-24 sesh, Fox averaged a big 5.7 rating/15 share in the 18-49 demo, followed by ABC (3.2/8), NBC (2.3/6), CBS (2.1/6), Univision (1.7/4), USA (1.0/2) and CW (0.9/2).

Fox also won handily in adults 25-54 (6.4/15), persons 12-34 (4.3/13) and total viewers (14.96 million) — and it holds the season advantage in these categories as well.

As the 24 “American Idol” finalists took to the stage, two-hour editions on Tuesday (11.3/27 in 18-49, 29.01m) and Wednesday (11.2/27, 28.88m) drew nearly identical scores to claim the week’s top two spots in the 18-49 program rankings.

The first “Idol” results show also padded Fox’s numbers on Thursday (8.5/22 in 18-49, 23.37m), ranking fourth for the week in 18-49 and helping the show behind it, “Don’t Forget the Lyrics,” achieve series highs (4.8/11, 12.43m).

Also, Fox effectively counterprogrammed the Oscars on Sunday with a second-place finish courtesy of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup race (4.1/11 in 18-49, 10.92m).

For ABC, the Academy Awards telecast came in 24% below last year in 18-49 (14.1/33) and 20% lower in total viewers (40.18m). Show saw similar declines in various demo groups, with teens slipping the least (15%).

“Oscar’s Red Carpet,” airing at 8 o’clock in most of the country, ranked fifth for the week (6.3/17 in 18-49, 21.54m), while the “Barbara Walters Special” cracked the top 20 (3.2/9, 11.69m).

Net didn’t have much else to shout about aside from Thursday’s “Lost” (5.7/13 in 18-49, 13.65m), although it had some rare good news on Friday. Despite starting the night in sixth place in demos with a “Grey’s Anatomy” repeat (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.64m), the second hour of “20/20” at 10 o’clock (featuring the popular “What Would You Do” ethical dilemmas) rallied to a slot-leading 2.9/8 in 18-49 and 8.66 million viewers — the show’s best numbers in more than a year.

NBC started the week strong with “Deal or No Deal” (5.2/13 in 18-49, 16.95m) but didn’t have a whole lot else going for it. Friday’s debut of gameshow “Amnesia” did reasonably well (2.4/7, 7.44m), though.

CBS was led by “Survivor” (4.1/10 in 18-49, 12.66m), which took a shot opposite “American Idol,” and also received good numbers Friday for Drew Carey’s first primetime hosting gig on “The Price Is Right” (2.5/8, 9.35m). On the down side, Tuesday drama “Jericho” (2.0/5, 5.86m) took a tumble in its second week back.

At the CW, “America’s Next Top Model” returned to lower-than-usual numbers (1.9/5, 3.81m), but it lifted the net to its strongest week of 2008. Also of note, Thursday’s “Supernatural” (1.3/3, 3.23m) matched its season high in 18-34 (1.4/4).

Univision ranked third for the week in 18-34 (1.9/6), led by Thursday’s “Premio Lo Nuestro” (2.8/7, 6.24m).

USA led the cablers in primetime thanks in part to “Monk,” which closed its sixth season Friday with its largest aud to date on the net (6.88 million). Show, which was recently picked up for a seventh season, will also be airing repeats on NBC this spring.

ESPN moved up to second in 18-49 on the strength of Saturday’s college basketball matchup between No. 1 Memphis and No. 2 Tennessee (1.9/6 in 18-49, 5.28m). It drew the largest aud on record for a college hoops game on the cabler.

Nickelodeon kicked off the week in a big way with Monday movie “Fairly Odd Baby,” which drew a big 8.81 million viewers to outdraw programming on ABC and CBS.

CNN ranked sixth among cablers for the week in adults 25-54 and fifth in total viewers. Thursday’s Democratic debate from Texas drew 7.68 million viewers, ranking second on cable this election season behind only the Jan. 31 California Democratic debate on CNN (8.32m).

The news nets all got a serious boost this month from increasingly intense political coverage, with Fox News (No. 3 despite airing no debates) and CNN (No. 4) both in the top 10 among total viewers and MSNBC 62% higher than last year at No. 27.

(Sam Thielman contributed to this report.)

More TV

  • Supergirl -- "Elseworlds, Part 3" --

    'Elseworlds, Part 3' Recap: 2019 ‘Arrowverse’ Crossover Theme Revealed

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Elseworlds, Part 2,” the final part of the 2018 “Arrowverse” crossover, which aired Dec. 11. After John Deegan (Jeremy Davies) got another go at using the Book of Destiny to rewrite reality, the “Elseworlds” finale saw Barry (Grant Gustin) and Oliver (Stephan Amell) facing [...]

  • The Netflix logo is displayed at

    TV Roundup: Netflix Orders Ted Bundy Docu-Series

    In today’s TV roundup, Netflix has ordered a docu-series on serial killer Ted Bundy and “Love, Gilda” sets a premiere date on CNN FIRST LOOKS Variety has obtained an exclusive clip of “Into the Okavango,” the upcoming National Geographic film. Premiering Dec. 14 on Nat Geo, the film, six years in the making, follows a [...]

  • Amy Poehler Is Ready for a

    Amy Poehler Is Ready for a 'Parks and Rec' Reunion

    Is Amy Poehler just getting our hopes up? We hope not, because the funny lady tells Variety that she’s ready for a “Parks and Recreation” reunion. “I am technically available,” Poehler said on Monday at Smart Girls’ 10th anniversary celebration dinner. “I have like six of Leslie’s blazers in my closet, so anytime.” “Parks and Recreation” [...]

  • Liz Meriwether Lake Bell

    Lake Bell, Liz Meriwether Comedy 'Bless This Mess' Moves From Fox to ABC With Series Order

    “Bless This Mess,” the single-camera comedy co-created by Lake Bell and Elizabeth Meriwether, has been ordered to series at ABC, Variety has learned. The series had previously been in contention at Fox and is a co-production between 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios. Bell also stars in the series alongside Dax Shepard. In the series, a [...]

  • 'Get Shorty' Renewed for Season 3

    'Get Shorty' Renewed for Season 3 at Epix

    Epix has renewed “Get Shorty” for Season 3. The loose adaptation of the 1990 Elmore Leonard novel and subsequent film stars Chris O’Dowd, Ray Romano, Lidio Porto, Megan Stevenson, Sean Bridgers, and Carolyn Dodd. In the series, O’Dowd plays a hitman from Nevada who struggles to shed his criminal past after he moves to Hollywood to [...]

  • Goliath Season 2 Amazon

    Amazon Renews 'Goliath' for Season 3

    Amazon has renewed legal drama “Goliath” for a third season. “Goliath” centers on washed-up lawyer Billy McBride, played by Billy Bob Thornton, who has one shot at redemption after a client he successfully defended from a murder charge went on to slaughter a family. Thornton won a Golden Globe for his performance in 2017. “Our [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content