Update: I was remiss in not noticing this (I plead lack of caffeine!) but Wednesday’s Idol actually outperformed the Tuesday premiere among 18-49 year olds. Fortunately, the FOX analysis and PR team is more observant/caffeine-fueled than I am:

The Wednesday premiere of AMERICAN IDOL returned for an 8th season with an 11.8 rating in Adults 18-49, up +1% versus Tuesday night’s premiere (11.8 vs. 11.7). In Total Viewers, last night’s AMERICAN IDOL was even vs. Tuesday (30.3 vs. 30.4 Mil), while in Adults 18-34 the singing competition was up +10% (10.8 vs. 9.8).

This is the first time in five years that AMERICAN IDOL’s Wednesday premiere has increased over its Tuesday debut in Adults 18-49 (since Jan’04) and the first time in the five years that Total Viewers retained at least 100% of its Tuesday debut audience. Last night was the first time EVER that AMERICAN IDOL saw an Adults 18-34 increase in its Wednesday premiere over Tuesday premiere.

extra update: please note that the numbers cited by the FOX above differ slightly from the numbers reported above and below because FOX used “time zone adjusted fast national numbers” and the numbers I used were not time zone adjusted.

Everyone at FOX must be in high-five mode. Night two of American Idol retained almost all of the first night audience. It’s probably too early to tell how significant that is, but last year we know the drop between night one and night two was from 33.42 million to 30.44 million (final numbers). This year night one drew 30.07 million and only dropped to 29.85 million on night two (preliminary fast affiliate numbers). At least in the short term, that retention night over night has to be very pleasing for the crew at FOX.

Idol was again dominant, but ABC aired repeats of Lost and NBC ran Knight Rider and a repeat of Law & Order: SVU against Idol. CBS ran first run shows, with its Wednesday comedy block and Criminal Minds against Idol. Criminal Minds performed admirably.

Soak it all in. Last week’s report is available if you want to compare.

Full details:

Time Net Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share 18-34 Rating/Share
8:00 FOX American Idol 27.23 10.4/27 9.4/26
CBS New Adventures of Old Christine 7.27 1.9/5 1.2/4
NBC Knight Rider 5.34 1.6/4 1.3/4
UNI Cuidado con el Angel 4.84 1.8/5 2.1/6
ABC Lost (R) 4.60 1.5/4 1.2/3
CW 13 – Fear is Real 1.57 0.7/2 0.8/2
8:30 CBS Gary Unmarried 7.08 2.1/5 1.5/4
9:00 FOX American Idol 32.48 13.0/31 12.1/31
CBS Criminal Minds 14.05 3.3/8 2.1/5
UNI Fuego en la Sangre 4.67 1.9/4 2.2/6
NBC Law & Order: SVU (R) 4.52 1.2/3 0.9/2
ABC Lost (R) 4.26 1.6/4 1.2/3
CW 90210 (R) 0.69 0.3/1 0.4/1
10:00 CBS CSI: NY 12.84 3.3/8 2.4/6
NBC Law & Order 8.20 2.3/6 1.6/4
ABC Lost (R) 4.57 1.8/5 1.4/4
UNI Don Francisco Presenta 3.86 1.5/4 1.6/4

Shows are sorted by viewers in each time slot.

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2008 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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