Fox high on double dose of 'Idol'

Returning 'Heroes' defeats '24,' saves day for NBC

Fox pulled out another strong week with a pair of two-hour episodes of "American Idol" that overshadowed the rest of broadcast primetime in the adults 18-49 demographic.

Fox won the 18-49 demo by a wide margin and prevailed in viewership over CBS — but by a narrower margin. NBC got a boost from "Heroes," which returned to beat "24" head-to-head in the demographic at 9 p.m. Monday. ABC, without originals of its heavy hitters "Desperate Housewives" and "Brothers & Sisters," came in third place in the demo for the week, though it did have "Grey's Anatomy."

The story of the week remained "Idol," which averaged 33.9 million viewers and a 13.3 rating/33 share in adults 18-49 for its Tuesday two-hour episode and then 33.9 million viewers and a 14.1/35 for its two-hour episode Wednesday. Nothing else came close on either night.

But another Fox stalwart, "24" (14.5 million, 5.4/12), bowed in the demo in head-to-head competition against NBC's runaway hit "Heroes" (14.9 million, 6.6/15). "Heroes," which has been off the air since early December, seems destined to remain the top new show of the season. But despite "Heroes" and "Deal or No Deal" (17.6 million, 5.2/13), none of that magic could help the return of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (7.2 million, 3.1/8). "Studio" did beat ABC's "What About Brian" (5.3 million, 2.5/6), however.

Unlike Tuesday, where "NCIS" (14.8 million, 3.4/9) was able to get an OK number against "Idol," nothing on Wednesday could gain traction from 8-10 p.m. The now-canceled "Armed & Famous" (4.2 million, 1.3/3) crashed, as did "The Knights of Prosperity" (3.6 million, 1.4/3), "In Case of Emergency" (3 million, 1.2/3) and "Friday Night Lights" (5.7 million, 1.9/5).

"Grey's Anatomy" (21.5 million, 8.9/21) beat "CSI" (21.1 million 6.7/16) in the demo, giving ABC the win for the night in the demo against mostly repeats.

With CBS in repeats, Fox won Friday night on the strength of "Trading Spouses" (6.3 million, 2.8/8), which was the top show in adults 18-49.

Sunday night's primetime featured an overwhelming viewership victory for CBS, which scored with "60 Minutes" (14.3 million, 2.6/7), "Cold Case" (15.1 million, 3.5/8) and a two-hour "Hallmark Hall of Fame" movie, "Valley of the Light" (14.8 million, 2.9/7). But CBS and Fox shared the demo as Fox got some mileage out of originals "The Simpsons" (8 million, 3.9/10) and "Family Guy" (8.8 million, 4.4/10). There was not so much mileage for a two-hour "Grease: You're the One That I Want" (7.3 million, 2.4/6) or "Apprentice: Los Angeles" (8.1 million, 3.4/8), which came in third in the demo to tie with a repeat "Desperate Housewives" (9.7 million, 3.4/8).

For the week, Fox averaged 12.6 million viewers and a 5.2/14 in the demo, followed by CBS (11.6 million, 3.0/8), ABC (8 million, 2.9/8, NBC (7.7 million, 2.6/7) and the CW (3.3 million, 1.3/3).
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