I’m not one who thinks that because Fringe is losing 50% of its American Idol lead in that it’s a disappointment. This week’s performance was almost identical to last week’s for Fringe, but the difference this week is that Idol did a bit better because it didn’t have the inauguration as competition.

Keeping in mind that the numbers will change because there’s a minute or two of American Idol rolling over into Fringe, Fringe averaged 12.091 million and a 4.8/11 (rating/share) among 18-49 year olds, second in the hour to NBC’s The Biggest Loser (12.92, 5.0/12). Again, the half hourly drops were noticeable for Fringe going from 13.206 million and a 5.2/12 the first half hour to 10.975 million and a 4.3/10. Minus the small portion of American Idol included in the first half hour the gap wouldn’t be as wide and based on last year, I’d have to guess FOX feels pretty good about Fringe, even the second half hour.

A new episode of NCIS impressively still pulled 19.04 million and a 3.9/10 up against American Idol at 8pm. Over 1/3rd of the 18-49 year old watching TV from 9pm-10pm were watching either American Idol or NCIS.

The Mentalist’s performance in a rerun at 9pm was impressive, first overall in viewers with 15.13 million though third among 18-49 year olds (2.9/7), but still better than a new episode of Without a Trace at 10pm (12.76 million 2.7/7)

Full details:

Time Net Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share 18-34 Rating/Share
8:00 FOX American Idol 25.20 9.6/24 8.6/23
CBS NCIS 19.04 3.9/10 2.8/7
NBC The Biggest Loser: Couples 9.07 3.2/8 2.7/7
ABC Homeland Security USA 5.60 1.7/4 1.2/3
UNI Cuidado con el Angel 4.70 1.9/5 2.1/6
CW 90210 (R) 1.06 0.4/1 0.4/1
9:00 CBS The Mentalist (R) 15.13 2.9/7 2.0/5
NBC The Biggest Loser: Couples 12.92 4.9/12 4.0/10
FOX Fringe 12.09 4.8/11 4.2/11
UNI Fuego en la Sangre 5.15 2.0/5 2.1/5
ABC Scrubs 5.12 2.2/5 2.4/6
CW Privileged (R) 0.84 0.3/1 0.4/1
9:30 ABC Scrubs 5.05 2.3/5 2.5/7
10:00 CBS Without a Trace 12.76 2.7/7 1.7/5
NBC Law & Order: SVU (R) 7.12 2.5/6 1.8/5
ABC Primetime: What Would You Do? 6.31 2.3/6 1.8/5
UNI Aqui y Ahora 3.24 1.3/3 1.3/4

Shows are sorted by viewers in each time slot.

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.


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.

For more information see Numbers 101.

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