First live 'Idol' dominates Tuesday


NEW YORK -- This season's first live episode of "American Idol" stomped over everything in primetime Tuesday, giving Fox another commanding win in the adults 18-49 demographic.

The two-hour "Idol" averaged 29.4 million viewers and an 11.7 rating/30 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by Nielsen Media Research. It built from 25.9 million viewers at 8 pm. to a peak of 31.3 million at 9 p.m. before falling slightly to 30.9 million for its last half hour. But its demo rating was a steady climb upward through the entire two hours, rising from a 10.0/27 at 8 p.m. to a 12.8/31 at 9:30 p.m.

Nothing else could come close, with CBS's "NCIS" (15.3 million, 3.4/9) the best of the rest at 8 p.m. against NBC's "Dateline" (5.8 million, 2.0/5) and a repeat of ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos" ( 5.5 million, 1.8/5). The situation wasn't any better at 9 p.m., with "The Unit" (11.5 million, 3.0/7) unable to hold CBS' 8 p.m audience. NBC's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (9.4 million, 2.6/6) came in third in the hour with ABC's "Primetime: The Outsiders" (5 million, 1.8/4) coming in fourth.

The winner at 10 p.m. was "Law & Order: SVU" (11.9 million, 4.1/11), which prevailed in viewership and adults 18-49 and other categories. That was well ahead of ABC's "Boston Legal" ( 9.4 million, 2.6/7) or a repeat "CSI: Miami" (8 million, 2.4/7).

Nightly averages: ABC (6.6 million, 2.1/5); CBS (11.6 million, 2.9/8); NBC (9 million, 2.9/8); Fox (29.4 million, 11.7/30); and The CW (3.2 million, 1.4/4).