Fox's 'Hell's Kitchen' sizzles

Paula Abdul antics eclipse 'Idol' ratings

Fox's "Hell's Kitchen" continues to heat up Tuesday nights, climbing to match its premiere rating.

"Kitchen" (12.3 million viewers, 5.5 preliminary adults 18-49 rating and a 14 share) generated a 12% week-to-week boost even as its "Idol" lead-in fell to another five-year low (24.4 million, 8.7/24).

Although "Kitchen's" ratings tend to settle a bit for the nationals since the preliminaries contain a couple of minutes of "Idol" overrun, the week-to-week increase is beyond the influence of its usual "Idol" boost. The "Kitchen" track record this season is impressive considering the show is traditionally a summer series and in its fourth season.

The "Idol" ratings drops have been momentarily overshadowed, however, by news of judge Paula Abdul's latest on-air gaffe. Abdul critiqued a contestant's two performances after he sang only one song -- suggesting to viewers that she either wasn't paying attention or was going off a script. Fox has no comment on the error.

Fox won the night overall, with ABC and CBS tied for second in the demo and both networks trying out returning shows in new time periods.

ABC had back-to-back "According to Jim" episodes (4.1 million, 1.3/3) followed by an on par "Dancing With the Stars" results show (16.7 million, 4.0/10). At 10 p.m., ABC tried out "Women's Murder Club" (8.1 million, 1.9/5), but the show registered about the same as in its Friday night run.

CBS aired "NCIS" (14.6 million, 3.0/8) followed by the return of bubble show "Shark" (10.3 million, 2.2/5) in its new time period. "Shark" was down slightly from its Sunday night average and came in third place for the hour, reducing its chances for a last-minute fall renewal. At 10 p.m., CBS had a repeat.

In third place, NBC aired specials and repeats, with an encore of "Law & Order: SVU" (12.1 million, 4.1/11) winning the 10 p.m. hour.

The CW's "Beauty and the Geek" (1.6 million, 0.8/2) was followed by "Reaper" (2.4 million, 1.1/3) both of which were up a tick from last week.
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