FOX won the night with an hour of American Idol pulling a 7.9/20 (rating/share) with adults 18-49 and 22.44 million viewers.  Earlier in the night, Lie to Me won the 8pm hour with a modest 2.5/8 adults 18-49 rating and 8.42 million viewers.

Lost pulled a record low for new episodes, at least in the 18-49 demographic where it entered the sub-4.0 range with a 3.7/9 and only 8.29 million viewers.   This can’t be chalked up to being hit harder by Idol than last week, because Idol was down from last week too.  And it can’t really be chalked up to the 8pm comedy block lead-in because that was pretty much on par with last week (even though the 18-49 numbers for both Scrubs and Better Off Ted were likely series lows for original airings).

The primary difference is that last week Criminal Minds was a repeat and this week it was new.  Some will ascribe this to lower HUT/PUT levels (number of people watching TV).  But I don’t think so.  While there were fewer 18-49 year olds watching at 9pm, it was only down ~1.2% versus last week, but Lost was down in the demo over 10%.

Speaking of the 8pm comedy blocks, CBS’ fared better in terms of adults 18-49 and total viewers, while ABC’s block performed better with adults 18-34.

The Unusuals looked rather usual from a ratings perspective.   While it outperformed last week’s  Life on Mars finale (2.1), it only barely did so.  The Unusuals’ 2.2 adults 18-49 rating couldn’t be what ABC was hoping for, especially with a premiere, since lately typically things only go down from the premiere. CSI: NY easily won the hour with a 3.3/9.

NBC wrapped the season (and surely, series) finale of Life around repeats of Law & Order and for the night the peacocks came in dead last, trailing even the CW in adults 18-49.   The CW ran with America’s Next Top Model at 8p, and an ANTM recap show at 9pm.   ANTM won the 8-9pm hour with women 18-34 (2.7/9) and  ranked second with adults 18-34 (1.9/6), just 0.1 behind Lie To Me.

Previous Wednesday overnight reports are available for comparison.

Full details:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating/Share 18-34 Rating/Share Viewers (Millons)2
8:00 FOX Lie to Me 2.5/8 2.0/7 8.42
CBS The New Adventures of Old Christine 2.1/7 1.3/5 7.30
ABC Scrubs 1.8/6 1.9/7 4.66
CW America’s Next Top Model 1.7/5 1.9/7 3.70
NBC Law & Order: (R) 1.2/3 0.8/3 5.41
8:30 CBS Gary Unmarried 2.2/7 1.3/4 7.30
ABC Better of Ted 1.7/5 1.6/5 4.21
9:00 FOX American Idol 7.8/20 6.3/17 22.44
ABC Lost 3.7/9 3.6/10 8.29
CBS Criminal Minds 3.2/8 2.0/5 13.25
NBC Life (season finale) 1.3/3 1.0/3 4.50
CW America’s Next Top Model (Recap) 0.9/2 1.2/3 2.01
10:00 CBS CSI: NY 3.3/9 2.3/7 12.52
ABC The Unusuals (season premiere) 2.2/6 1.8/5 6.84
NBC Law & Order (R) 1.2/3 0.8/2 4.68

Shows are sorted by Adults 18-49 rating 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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