Viewers flocked to veteran reality programs last week, as Fox's "American Idol" and the return of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" easily topped the primetime program rankings.
It was also a big week for Comedy Central, which ranked among the top five cablers in key demos thanks to Sunday's roast of Larry the Cable Guy and Wednesday's season preem of "South Park." Net also made big news -- and drew record online traffic -- for Jon Stewart's showdown with CNBC's Jim Cramer on Thursday.
Overall, "American Idol"-boosted Fox, whose weekly lineup included solid showings for scripted skeins "House" and "Lie to Me," among others, won the week with ease in key demos.
CBS, despite being shut out of the top five programs in 18-49, continues to be the most balanced net throughout the week. The Eye claimed eight of the week's top 20 programs in the demo, compared with four apiece for ABC, Fox and NBC.
Fox's weekly 18-49 average of a 4.0 rating/11 share was well ahead of CBS (2.8/8), which was followed by ABC (2.5/7), NBC (2.2/6), Univision (1.6/4) and cablers USA and TBS (0.9/3), according to Nielsen estimates.
Fox also ruled among adults 25-54 (4.7/12) and persons 12-34 (3.2/11), while placing a close second to CBS in total viewers (10.9 million to 11.1 million).
Tuesday's two-hour "American Idol," in which the top 13 finalists performed selections from Michael Jackson's songbook, delivered a big 9.5 rating/25 share in adults 18-49 and 25.77 million viewers overall. And the next night's results show, shifting to its new regular 9 p.m. slot, crushed its competish as well (9.1/23, 25.55m).
Elsewhere for the net, "House" (4.8/13, 12.38m) ran second to ABC's "Dancing" on Monday; rookie drama "Lie to Me" looked good in its new 8 p.m. slot on Wednesday (first-place 3.4/10 in 18-49, 11.25m); and "Hell's Kitchen" remained strong on Thursday (3.5/9, 7.71m) even without an "Idol" lead-in.
Also, "Survivor" (4.1/12, 12.82m) trounced its timeslot rivals on Thursday, and "The Unit" matched or set season highs in various categories on Sunday (2.7/7, 10.87m).
Overall, the Eye continues to dominate in total viewers, claiming 10 of the week's top 15 programs.
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