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Fox Wins Again

There are only three American Idol contestants left, but that was still enough to draw a big crowd from 8 p.m.-9 p.m. The Fox show won the time period by its accustomed wide margin, recording an average 9.2 rating/27 share in the Nielsen Media Research overnight numbers to second-place CBS' 2.3/7.

Fox won the night in the demo with a 7.4/20, thanks to Idol and a time-period winning performance from 24 at 9, though its help from the idol lead-in was clear. 24 averaged a 6.0/16 in its first half-hour, but dropped to a 5.0/12 in its second.

In second for the night was NBC with a 4.9/13 for Outrageous Game Show Moments, essentially a throwaway against Idol at 8-9; a repeat of Law & Order: SVU at 9-10 and the season finale of the same show at 10. The finale recorded a series record 7.3/19, which NBC says was the network's highest non-sports, non-election number at 10 on Tuesday in five years.

ABC was a distant third with a 3.1/8 for 8 Simple Rules, According To Jim, Less Than Perfect and Super Millionaire, which was third at 10 p.m. and is not looking a whole lot like appointment television this time around. In its heyday, Millionaire was racking up Idol-like numbers.

CBS was in fourth with a 2.4/6 for Navy NCIS; a Special on Don Hewitt of 60 Minutes at 9-10, which actually came in fifth behind netlet The WB in 18-49's; and Judging Amy.

The WB was fifth with a 2.1/6 for Gilmore Girls and Hewitt-topper Superstar USA.

UPN was barely a blip on the radar screen with a .8/2 for One On One, All Of Us, and Rock Me Baby.

The tale of the tape in the household race was: Fox, 10.4/16; NBC, 8.8/14; CBS, 6.7/11; ABC, 5.7/9; WB, 3.3/5; and UPN, 1.6/3.

FYI: A rating is a percentage of everyone in the U.S. who has a TV and is tuned to a particular show. A share is the percentage of everyone in the U.S. who has the TV on and is tuned to that show. A household rating is a percentage of sets tuned to a show, a demo is a percentage of a particular age group (18-49-year-olds, for example) tuned to a show.