Fox's 'Idol' even tops State of the Union

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The commander in chief wishes he had "American Idol's" poll numbers. Viewership of President Bush's State of the Union address on Tuesday paled in comparison the turnout an hour earlier for Fox's "Idol."

The first regular hourlong edition of "Idol," following last week's blockbuster four-hour premiere, drew some 32.6 million viewers and 13.3 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic (share data was not immediately available), according to preliminary estimates from Nielsen Media Research. Fox was quick to note that last night's "Idol" was up 7% in the demo and 8% in total viewers compared to the comparable episode that ran last year on the night of the state of the union address.

Nothing else was remotely competitive with "Idol" in the 8 p.m. hour. Even CBS' drama "NCIS" (14.3 million, 3.3/8), which stood tall in the face of "Idol's" Tuesday premiere last week, took a dive compared to its season averages.

From 9-10:30 p.m. ET, The Big Four networks carried live commercial-free coverage of Bush's address and the Democratic response. Because the coverage aired commercial-free, those ratings will not be factored into each network's season averages. Reliable national ratings for the live speech coverage won't be available until later today, but preliminary estimates indicate that Fox's coverage averaged about 10.5 million viewers, thanks to its "Idol" lead-in. CBS and NBC appeared to hover around 8.5 million viewers apiece while ABC brought it about 7 million.
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