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'American Idol' and Grammys soar as Fox and CBS battle in ratings

February 10, 2009 | 12:59 pm

Pop music prevailed in the TV ratings last week as Fox's "American Idol" and CBS' Grammy telecast earned top spots in audience rankings.

"Idol's" Tuesday telecast was the most-watched program, with an average of 26.6 million total viewers, although the Wednesday edition was not far behind (26.4 million), according to figures published Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

Sunday's 3 1/2-hour Grammys delivered 19 million total viewers for CBS, a 10% increase over the previous year. With the award show pulling a 7.4 rating/18 share in adults aged 18 to 49, CBS also achieved a rare Sunday win in that ad-friendly demographic.

Meanwhile, CBS' regular lineup of procedural dramas and sitcoms continued to deliver strong results across the board, with the network claiming six of the 10 most-watched programs, led by "Two and a Half Men" (16.6 million) and "CSI: Miami" (16.1 million). "60 Minutes" (16.7 million), which led in to the Grammys, drew strength from an interview with the heroic pilot behind a US Air flight that ditched in the Hudson River last month.

With CBS and Fox clashing at the top, ABC and NBC were left to tough it out. NBC appeared to gain no traction from its record-breaking Super Bowl telecast earlier this month; the network last week had no entry in the Top 10 either in total viewers or young adults. And ABC, despite some success in rekindling viewer interest in its medical drama, "Private Practice," is mired in fourth place for the season in the 18 to 49 demographic.

Overall, CBS won the week in total viewers (11.5 million), followed by Fox (10.8 million), ABC (7.8 million) and NBC (6.9 million). Fox won the 18 to 49 race, with a 4.0 rating vs. CBS' 3.2.

On basic cable, the week's top program was USA's "Monk" on Friday, with 5.7 million total viewers.

-- Scott Collins   

   

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