Two hours of American Idol fueled FOX to a dominant victory on Wednesday night.   CBS was a distant second in total viewers, and ABC was second in adults 18-49.   Sadly, neither Life or Life on Mars reversed the trend towards inevitable doom.

American Idol dominated the 8pm hour,  but the second hour of Tuesday’s The Biggest Loser was pushed to Wednesday due to the presidential address fared well in the demos against repeats on CBS and ABC (and the CW, too).

American Idol dominated the 9pm hour too, though it was a more competitive hour against new episodes of Lost and Criminal Minds (and Life).  Lost which had risen nicely in the demos last week (to a 5.1 among 18-49s) dropped back down to the two weeks ago level when it drew a 4.4.  But last week it wasn’t up against American Idol and two weeks ago it was.  So it looks pretty consistent.   Lost was remarkable consistent numerically for both half hours.

NBC’s Life was low, perhaps series low (at least on a Wednesday airing) dropping to 4.87 million average viewers.  It’s 18-49 demo numbers were actually up over last week, but not enough to provoke any hope among the rational.  But I liked last night’s episode and Crews’ long distance relationship with tech support in India.

ABC’s Life on Mars was also low.  Don’t let the numbers fool you as there was six minutes of Lost in the 10pm hour that will be removed in the finals.  Unlike Lost, Life on Mars’ half hourly numbers weren’t consistent at all.  In the first half hour (including the six minutes of Lost) it averaged 6.57 million and a 2.5 rating with 18-49s, but in the second half hour it averaged a mere 4.53 million and a 1.5/4 among 18-49s.  It lost to a repeat of Law & Order on NBC, and of course CSI: NY which dominated the hour.

Last Wednesday’s overnight numbers.

Full details:

Time Net Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share 18-34 Rating/Share
8:00 FOX American Idol 23.68 8.5/23 6.7/21
NBC Biggest Loser 8.73 3.3/9 2.8/9
CBS New Adventures of Old Christine (R) 5.83 1.5/4 0.9/3
ABC LOST (R) 4.97 1.7/5 1.4/5
CW Privileged (R) 0.90 0.4/1 0.5/2
8:30 CBS Gary Unmarried (R) 5.99 1.7/4 1.0/3
9:00 FOX American Idol 24.82 9.4/23 7.7/21
CBS Criminal Minds 13.98 3.4/8 2.0/5
ABC LOST 9.82 4.4/11 4.1/11
NBC Life 4.87 1.7/4 1.3/4
CW 90210 (R) 0.57 0.2/1 0.4/1
10:00 CBS CSI: NY 12.69 3.2/9 2.0/6
NBC Law & Order (R) 5.71 1.7/5 1.3/4
ABC Life on Mars 5.55 2.0/6 1.7/5

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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