'Idol' lifts Fox as Obama's ratings slide again


Audience interest in President Obama's news conferences seems to be falling, with Wednesday's event drawing the smallest primetime audience since his inauguration.

The telecast to mark Obama's 100th day in office was viewed by 28.8 million people, Nielsen said. That's a 29% drop from his previous news conference, on March 24, and a 42% fall since his first, on Feb. 9.

Ten networks carried the telecast — one fewer than the previous time because Fox elected to run its drama "Lie to Me" (7.8 million viewers, 2.3 national adults 18-49 rating) instead. Airing regular entertainment programming saved Fox ad dollars but didn't help the show much. "Lie" pulled the same rating it did last week; like last week, it won the 8 p.m. hour.

Fox won the night overall, led by "American Idol" (22.4 million, 7.7), which was down slightly compared with last week.

Second-place CBS aired "Criminal Minds" (13.6 million, 3.3) and "CSI: NY" (12.5 million, 3.2), both on par with the previous time they teamed for original episodes. In third, ABC had an anniversary telecast of its own, with the 100th episode of "Lost" (9 million, 4.1) climbing a bit from last week, while 10 p.m.'s "The Unusuals" (4.9 million, 1.5) was on par. NBC aired a repeat and "Law & Order" (7.8 million, 2.2). The CW's "America's Next Top Model" (4 million, 1.8) was on par. (partialdiff)