'Idol' still down but good for win


NEW YORK -- This season's sophomore episode of "American Idol," like on Tuesday, blew away Wednesday night's competition. But also like Tuesday, the two-hour episode was down in all key measures from last year.

"Idol" averaged 30.2 million viewers and a 12.6 rating/30 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary estimates released Thursday by Nielsen Media Research.

The declines were steeper this time around, down 18% in viewership (37 million) and 19% in adults 18-49 (15.5/36). But that being said, even with the declines, "Idol" was still the biggest thing going on TV.

NBC did the best against the formidable "Idol" juggernaut thanks to "Deal or No Deal" (11.8 million, 3.1/8) at 8 p.m. That did much better than either ABC's "Wife Swap" (5.2 million, 2.0/5) or CBS' "Power of 10" (4.9 million, 1.1/3), not to mention the CW's "Crowned" (1.6 million, 0.7/2). And casualties at 9 p.m. included "Supernanny" (6.1 million, 2.5/6) and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (8.8 million, 2.4/5). CBS' conclusion of "Comanche Moon" (12.1 million, 2.4/6) did about as well as Tuesday's edition.

NBC won at 10 p.m. with "Law & Order" (11.5 million, 3.6/9), which beat out ABC's "Cashmere Mafia" (5.4 million, 2.2/6).

Fox (30.3 million, 12.6/30) easily won the night against ABC (5.5 million, 2.2/5); CBS (9.7 million, 2.0/5); NBC (10.7 million, 3.0/7); and the CW (1.4 million, 0.6/1).