'Idol' has best Wednesday since January


Fox's "American Idol" had its best Wednesday night performance in the Nielsen ratings since its January premiere week and handily bested all competitors.

While over on The CW, the 10th cycle premiere of "America's Next Top Model" tied CBS's "Big Brother" for the 8 p.m. hour, yet was the lowest-rated debut for the series since the third round aired in 2004.

"Idol" (11.1 preliminary rating among adults 18 to 49 and a 27 share) showcased the top 12 female competitors' performances last night. The show was about even with Tuesday's episode and up 13% compared to last Wednesday. This is usually about the time during the "Idol" run when rating tend to sag, so an uptick at this point in the game is likely encouraging for Fox. The network also placed first in total viewers, with "Idol" being seen by 29 million.

Second-place NBC aired "Deal or No Deal" (2.1/5), which hit a season low for a Wednesday original last night after Monday's season high. Why the sharp drop? "Deal" faced a pure original reality lineup at 8 p.m., with heavy "Idol" leading the way. Also, Monday's strong ratings prompted the network to push the next edition of its highly rated "Million Dollar Mission" stunt to Monday, swapping in a regular episode at the last minute.

NBC also aired "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (1.9/4), which hit a season low, and "Law & Order" (3.1/8).

In third, ABC aired "Wife Swap" (2.1/5), "Supernanny" (2.3/6) and a season-low season finale -- and likely series finale, though no decision has been announced -- of "Cashmere Mafia" (1.6/4).

CBS was fourth with "Big Brother" (1.9/5), which was about on par with last Wednesday's episode, and repeats of "Criminal Minds" (1.9/5) and "CSI: NY" (2.0/5).

The CW had "Top Model" (1.9/5) and a repeat of "Pussycat Dolls Presents" (0.8/2) the latter of which continued the "Dolls" tradition of rating higher in post-"Top Model" repeats than in original airings. Among the network's target demographic of adults 18 to 34, "Model" was still down significantly from last fall and spring (2.5).

For the night: Fox was on top (averaging an 11.1 rating and 28.6 million viewers), followed by NBC (2.4/9.2 million), ABC (2.0/5.5 million), CBS (1.9/6.7 million) and CW (1.4/2.8 million).