2-hour 'Idol' demolishes Wed. competition


How long can Fox hold that high note? "American Idol" demolished everything in sight again in primetime on Wednesday with a two-hour edition that peaked at 36.9 million viewers in the 9 p.m. hour.

"Idol" opened up the night for Fox at 8 p.m. with 27.7 million viewers and 11.1 rating/30 share in the adults 18-49 demographic. By 9 pm., viewership had climbed to 36.9 million and 15.5/37 in the demo.

"Idol" surpassed the combined ratings of ABC, CBS, NBC and CW Network in both the 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. hours. CBS' "Armed and Famous" (4.7 million, 1.4/4) couldn't get arrested at 8 p.m. NBC's "Fright Night Lights" (6 million, 1.9/5) and ABC's combo of "George Lopez" (6.1 million, 1.9/5) and "According to Jim" (6.2 million, 2.1/5) weren't much better off, though CW's "Beauty and the Geek" (3.1 million, 1.3/3) held up well, relatively speaking by CW standards.

At 9 p.m., NBC's "Deal or No Deal" (10.1 million, 2.7/6) was a distant No. 2. ABC's struggled against the "Idol" vortex with new comedies "The Knights of Prosperity" (3.6 million, 1.4/3) and "In Case of Emergency" (3 million, 1.2/3) while CBS punted with a "Criminal Minds" repeat (9.6 million, 2.3/5).

Weak lead-ins handicapped the Big Three networks at 10 p.m. CBS' "CSI: NY" (13.6 million, 4.0/11) led the hour.

All told, Fox won the night with an average of 33.6 million viewers and 13.9/34 in adults 18-49, which was not too far from where it was last Wednesday with the two-hour conclusion of "Idol's" blockbuster premiere (36.9 million, 15.5/36).