Idol Rocks On

Fox's American Idol came down from Mount Everest Wednesday, but only about as far as Kilimanjaro.

In its second outing of season five, the show's ratings were from its two-hour Tuesday debut, but it still beat every other network combined in its 8-9 time period with a 13 rating/33 share in the 18-49 demo in Nielsen Fast Affiliate overnight ratings. That led Fox to an easy nightly victory in the demo with a 10/24 average.

No other network could crack a 2.5 rating for the hour when the Idols held sway.

With that lead-in, Fox's debut of Skating with Celebrities, a chilled-over version of ABC's Dancing With the Stars that it hyped heavily in NFL playoff games, cut into ABC's powerhouse Lost big time, actually beating the first half-hour of a new episode of the series at 9-9:30 with a 7.9/18 to Lost's 7.8/18, before dropping to a still-strong 6.5/15 at 9:30-10 while Lost rose to an 8.3/19.

It is still one of the best performances of any network show against the usually dominant ABC drama, with Skating skating to a 7.12/16 for the hour to Lost's 8.1/18. By contrast, an episode of Fox's Nanny 911 up against Lost back in October did a 2.8/7 to Lost's 9/22.

ABC easily won the battle for second with a 4.7/11 in the demo, thanks to Lost.

CBS was third with a 3.9/9. Its top show was CSI: NY, which won its 10 p.m. time period with a 5.4/14.

NBC was third with a 3.1/7, with Law & Order providing the bright spot at a 4.1/10 for second place at 10 p.m.

Univision was fifth with a 1.9 for its telenovela lineup, while The WB was sixth with a 1.2/3 for a new One Tree Hill and a repeat of Beauty & the Geek.

UPN, which barely registered Tuesday with a .4/1 average, was up slightly to a .6/2 for South Beach and a repeat of Veronica Mars, though going up against a two-hour American Idol Tuesday and the one-two-three punch of Idol, Skating and Lost proved a formidable task for all the competition.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.