'Dancing' soars to new heights

Fuels ABC to second place behind 'Idol'

ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" results show had its best delivery so far this year and led the network to second place against "American Idol"-powered Fox.

"Dancing" (17.7 million viewers, 4.4 preliminary adults 18-49 rating and an 11 share) spiked its Nielsens for the reality series' 100th episode. The competition series was boosted by a lead-in clip show special (10.5 million, 2.4/7) featuring "Dancing" judges' all-time favorite performances.

At 10 p.m., ABC's freshman drama "Women's Murder Club" (8.7 million, 2.2/6) took advantage of the boosted lead-in, climbing 22% over last Tuesday's time period debut for its best ratings since November. As "Murder Club" is considered on the bubble for a fall renewal and Tuesday's performance is a push in the right direction.

In first place, Fox's "Idol" (21.2 million, 8.2/23) continued its downward trend, falling another 9% from last week. This week's drop is more striking than in recent weeks as "Idol" ratings generally start to climb in May as the season finale approaches.

At 9 p.m., Fox's "Hell's Kitchen" (11.2 million, 5.2/13) was off a very slight 4%, but hit a new record for its "Idol" audience retention -- 63% (note: ratings for "Murder Club" and "Kitchen" typically include a couple minutes of overrun from their higher-rated lead-ins, so the shows tend to settle a bit in the nationals).

CBS was third with "NCIS" (13.8 million, 2.8/8) followed by a flat "Shark" (10.4 million, 2.2/5) and a repeat.

Fourth-place NBC had repeats leading into "Law & Order: SVU" (10.4 million, 3.5/10) which won 10 p.m. while hitting a series low.

The CW aired an on-par "Beauty and the Geek" (1.6 million, 0.7/2) and "Reaper" (2.5 million, 1.0/3).