'Lost' returns to battle against 'CSI: NY'


NEW YORK -- There was plenty of drama in primetime Wednesday with the return of "Lost" vying against CBS' "CSI: NY" and "Criminal Minds" enjoying a post-Super Bowl bounce. Still, nothing could stop Fox's "American Idol" from towering over the night.

The 9 p.m. edition of "Idol" was the night's top telecast by a mile with 27.6 million viewers and an 11.8 rating/27 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary data released Thursday by Nielsen Media Research.

"Lost" returned after a two-month hiatus to a new 10 p.m. berth, drawing 14.7 million viewers and 6.5/16 in the demo. "Lost" won the hour in adults 18-49 but "CSI: NY" (15.8 million, 4.9/12) prevailed in viewers with an assist from 9 p.m.'s "Criminal Minds" (17.2 million, 5.1/12). "Minds" grew nearly a full rating point, or 22%, from its season average in adults 18-49, and gained 17% from its season average in viewers in its first regular time slot outing following Sunday's special post-game episode.

At 10 p.m., "Lost" proved a self-starter with a big leap from its 9 p.m. lead-in, the "Lost Survival Guide" special (9.1 million, 3.7/8), and it vastly improved ABC's fortunes in the 10 p.m. slot. "Lost" was off its season average for its first seven installments in viewers (16.7 million) but solid on the 18-49 side (6.9/17). In adults 18-34, "Lost" posted its second highest marks of the season behind only its Oct. 4 third-season opener. NBC's "Medium" (8.3 million, 2.8/7) felt the brunt of the heightened 10 p.m. competition.

Fox also took the opening hour of primetime with "Bones" (12.6 million, 4.4/12), which basked in "Idol's" aura to score its highest ratings in a year for the second week in a row. It outperformed a "Criminal Minds" repeat (10.3 million, 2.8/8) as well as NBC's "Friday Night Lights" ( 6.5 million, 2.4/6) and ABC's "George Lopez Show" (7 million, 2.6/7) and "The Knights of Prosperity" (5.2 million, 2.1/5). The CW's had a good outing by its standard for "Beauty and the Geek" (4.4 million, 2.1/5), but "One Tree Hill" (2.9 million, 1.3/3) was fairly pummeled at 9 p.m. by "Idol."

For the night, Fox had no competition for bragging rights with an average of 20.1 million viewers and 8.1/20 in the demo. CBS was No. 2 with 14.4 million and 4.3/10.