In ratings race, it’s ‘American Idol’ over inaugural balls


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Ratings for Tuesday’s ‘American Idol’ took a hit thanks to live coverage of the inaugural balls in some TV markets, yet the singing competition still came out on top.

‘Idol’ averaged 22.4 million total viewers, easily besting the 12.6 million during the 8 p.m. hour for ABC’s ‘Neighborhood Inaugural Ball,’ according to early data from Nielsen Media Research.


However, the festivities in Washington probably cost ‘Idol’ at least a few million viewers. In a ratings note, Fox said it expected the DVR playback numbers for its show ‘to be much bigger than normal’ due to the competition Tuesday.

NBC, offering counter-programming at the end of a long Inauguration Day, stuck with ‘The Biggest Loser’ (10.2 million). CBS delivered the low-rated special ‘Change & Challenge: The Inauguration of Barack Obama’ (6.9 million).

— Scott Collins