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'American Idol' tops weekly ratings while 'Secret Millionaire' cracks Top 10

March 8, 2011 |  5:58 pm

Americanidoljudges Last week offered something seldom seen these days:  A new reality series that cracked the Top 10.

ABC might have an unexpected hit on its hands with "Secret Millionaire," a feel-good show that plops a real-life rich person incognito among ordinary folk. The show — an earlier version of which ran on Fox in 2008 — delivered 12.7 million total viewers in its Sunday opener, good enough for an impressive seventh-place finish, according to the Nielsen Co. That was discouraging news to NBC, which saw grim results for its new reality show "America’s Next Great Restaurant" (4.6 million).

Otherwise, the week belonged as usual to Fox’s "American Idol," which had the week’s most-watched episode with 25.3 million total viewers for a Thursday airing that introduced the top 12 (actually, the top 13) contestants. The Wednesday and Tuesday episodes were not far behind (22.8 million and 21.4 million). "Idol" also topped the list of programs in the key adults aged 18 to 49 demographic.

Overall, Fox was No. 1 with 11.6 million total viewers, trailed by CBS (10 million), ABC (6.6 million) and NBC (5.5 million).

Tops on basic cable was MTV’s Thursday airing of "Jersey Shore" (7.8 million).


Complete "American Idol" coverage on Show Tracker

— Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: "American Idol" judges Steven Tyler, left, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson. Credit: Frank Micelotta/Fox.