Fox dominates week's ratings

'Idol' helps network pull out a win over CBS

Fox reclaimed its ratings lead this week and moved into a solo first place for the season.

After the Super Bowl put NBC over the top last week, Fox righted its ship led by a fairly steady "American Idol" (26.6 million viewers, 10.0 rating/25 share in adults 18-49).

The network improved its traditional weak spot of Thursday nights by adding the time-period-topping "Bones" (10.9 million, 3.2/9) and "Hell's Kitchen" (7.7 million, 3.4/8). "Hell's" declined from its premiere but helped Fox score its highest-rated Thursday this season with regular programming. Tuesday's "Fringe" (12.8 million, 5.0/12) also gave Fox some good news, posting its second-highest-rated episode to date, while "House" (14.9 million, 5.6/14) and "24" (11.3 million, 3.7/8) continue to top Monday nights.

CBS ranked second, with its presentation of the 51st annual Grammy Awards (19.1 million, 7.4/18) compensating for some key shows running repeats. The music awards enjoyed gains from last year, particularly in advertiser-friendly demographics, thanks to performances by several younger artists.

CBS also eclipsed last season in the adult demo -- up 3% among adults 18-49 -- the only major broadcast network to pull off a year-over-year gain for the season.

ABC ranked fourth for the week, led by Thursday night's "Grey's Anatomy" (15.3 million, 5.8/14), with lead-out "Private Practice" (12.9 million, 5.3/14) hitting a series high thanks to a "Grey's" tease promising the start of a character crossover that continues this week. The pairing of "Grey's" and its spinoff has worked well for ABC, which won both hours on a competitive night.

Another positive story for ABC is Monday night's "The Bachelor" (11 million, 4.1/10), which is enjoying a popular season and grows its rating with nearly every episode. On Wednesdays, however, "Life on Mars" (5.8 million, 2.0/5) continues to disappoint, losing more than half of its lead-in from "Lost" (11 million, 5.0/12).

NBC came in fourth place, with Monday night's 3-D episode of "Chuck" (8.5 million, 3.0/7) returning to a season-high rating after its promotion during the Super Bowl and "Heroes" (8.6 million, 4.0/9) climbing a bit as well. Still, Thursday night's "The Office" (8.5 million, 4.3/11) demonstrated no ratings benefit after the network aired a special hourlong episode after the Super Bowl.

Also, the Friday night freshman reality show "Howie Do It" (4.7 million, 1.3/5) placed last in its time period after receiving an order for additional episodes.

The CW was up compared with the same week a year ago in its target demo, led by "Smallville" (3.9 million, 1.6/4).
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