9.6 mil sing along with Fox's 'Glee'

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The preview of Fox's new musical dramedy "Glee" on Tuesday posted a decent stand-alone number, though it lost a large portion of its lead-in from the "American Idol" performance finale.

The advance look at "Glee," which premieres in the fall, lost more than half of the "Idol" audience. "Glee" was seen by 9.6 million viewers and drew a 3.9 rating among adults 18-49. By comparison, "Idol" drew 23.8 million with an 8.6 rating.

For "Idol," it was the competition's lowest-rated finale to date, including its first season, which aired in the summer.

Comparing "Glee" to past Fox shows is tricky, but last year "Hell's Kitchen" garnered a 5.2 rating out of the "Idol" finale.

"Glee" was dominated by the finale of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" (20.1 million, 5.2), which ruled the rest of the evening. "Dancing" came into the neighborhood of the "Idol" tally among total viewers and matched its ratings from last year.

Fox has positioned the "Glee" airing as a marketing initiative rather than a ratings grab and had staffers monitoring iTunes, blogs and Twitter to gauge reaction to the show. "It was the No. 1 topic all night on 'Twitter,' " a Fox e-mail said.

Spokesman Joe Earley said the network was pleased with the numbers and response.

"The measurement for success (Tuesday night) was never about the demo rating," Earley said. "We're definitely happy with the way 'Glee' performed, (and) we knew how tough the competition was going to be. Last night was a marketing experiment, and we got almost 10 million people to see it, which is fantastic. We could work all summer long marketing the show and not get those many people, and certainly not in the fall."

Given the preview's heavy promotion and selection as the network's only new drama in the fall, however, Fox doubtless was hoping that the preview would generate a more optimistic number.

CBS had the solid season finales of "NCIS" (16.1 million, 3.4), "The Mentalist" (16.8 million, 3.7) and the series finale of "Without a Trace" (11.3 million, 2.5). NBC had repeats and "Law & Order: SVU" (6.7 million, 2.4). The CW aired a low-rated episode of "Reaper" (1.8 million, 0.7) and the "90210" finale (2.1 million, 1.0). (partialdiff)
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