American Idol’s second night was down from both yesterday and last season’s second night. ABC’s Ugly Betty held onto just a 1.6 adults 18-49 rating.

Wednesday night’s Idol averaged 26.4 million people and a 10.1/27 with adults 18-49 from 8p-9:30p. A year earlier, a two hour version of Idol averaged 29.85 million and an 11.8rating with adults 18-49 in the overnight numbers, so this year Idol is down 14 percent with adults 18-49 vs last year’s Wednesday premiere.  Coupled with the Simpsons rerun Fox was down almost 28 percent for the night.

Additionally compared to last year’s Wednesday premiere, Idol was down –10% in households (from 16.4/25), -15% in adults 25-54 (from 13.0/30),  and lost –3.99m viewers (from 30.34m, -13%). This is the smallest delivery for an American Idol Wednesday”premiere since 2003 (first in-season premiere) in both households and viewers, since the summer of 2002 in both adults 25-54 and adults 18-49.

While Fox execs were celebrating yesterday, today is a crueler wake up call.  Not that beating your combined competition by 53 percent sounds all that cruel, but still.

CBS didn’t have anything to celebrate at 8pm where its comedies were down a touch versus their performance against Idol last year, but at 9pm Criminal Minds was strong with a 3.9 adults 18-49 rating, destroying Law & Order: SVU and its 2.0.   Though SVU didn’t get much help from Mercy (whose ratings pants really are on the ground) I imagine NBC can’t wait to move SVU back to 10pm post Jay Leno in primetime.

And we’re not trying to be mean to Ugly Betty in the headline, the “pants on the ground’ is in reference to one of Idol’s contestants last night who is something of an overnight sensation.  Betty was actually stable with last week with adults 18-49 despite dropping in overall viewers.

My guess is ABC is pretty pleased with how its comedies held up against Idol from 8:30p-9:30p.  A repeat Modern Family did nearly as well as a new Old Christine at 8pm, The Middle bested Gary Unmarried and Modern Family stayed above a 3.0 despite facing off with Idol.

Once again, Conan destroyed Letterman in the late night wars.


Time Net Show 18-49 Rating 18-49 Share Viewers Live+SD (Millions)
8:00 FOX American Idol 8.6 25 23.152
CBS New Adventures Of Old Christine 1.9 5 6.251
ABC Modern Family (repeat) 1.7 5 5.321
NBC Mercy 1.5 4 5.948
CW One Tree Hill (repeat) 0.4 1 1.058
8:30 FOX American Idol 10.2 27 26.914
ABC The Middle 2.1 6 6.092
CBS Gary Unmarried 1.9 5 5.802
NBC Mercy 1.5 4 5.814
CW One Tree Hill (repeat) 0.3 1 0.758
9:00 FOX American Idol 11.5 28 28.970
CBS Criminal Minds 3.5 9 12.686
ABC Modern Family 3.2 8 7.847
NBC Law & Order: SVU 1.7 4 6.717
CW Gossip Girl (repeat) 0.2 1 0.456
9:30 CBS Criminal Minds 4.3 11 15.239
FOX Simpsons (R) 3.6 9 8.091
ABC Cougar Town 3.1 8 7.404
NBC Law & Order: SVU 2.3 6 8.652
CW Gossip Girl (repeat) 0.3 1 0.595
10:00 CBS CSI: NY 3.6 10 14.160
ABC Ugly Betty 1.7 5 4.667
NBC The Jay Leno Show 1.6 5 5.678
10:30 CBS CSI: NY 3.5 10 13.988
NBC The Jay Leno Show 1.5 4 5.056
ABC Ugly Betty 1.5 4 4.295

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2010 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

You can see TV ratings from other recent Overnight ratings reports here.


Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings, including demographics, are available at approximately 11 AM (ET) the day after telecast, and are released to subscribing customers daily. These data, from the National People Meter sample, are strictly time-period information, based on the normal broadcast network feed, and include all programming on the affiliated stations, sometimes including network programming, sometimes not. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. For example, with a World Series game, Fast Affiliate Ratings would include whatever aired from 8-11PM on affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, following the live football game, but not game coverage that begins at 5PM PT. The same would be true of Presidential debates as well as live award shows and breaking news reports.

Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.

Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)

Time Shifted Viewing – Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live+Same Day (Live+SD) and Live+7 Day. Time shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs which are currently in approximately 24.4% of all U.S. TV households. Live+Same Day (Live+SD) include viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3:00AM local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live+7 Day ratings include incremental viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

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