Why is ‘Dancing With the Stars’ beating ‘American Idol’ in the ratings?

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Why is ‘Dancing With the Stars’ suddenly beating ‘American Idol’ in the ratings?

Last week, for the second time in a row, ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” topped Fox’s “American Idol” as the nation’s No. 1 show.

“Dancing” scored 21.4 million total viewers for the May 2 performance episode, narrowly beating out the Wednesday and Thursday episodes of Fox’s “American Idol,” which has for years been TV’s most popular program.

And overall, “Dancing” is headed toward its most-watched season ever, despite the lack of a ripped-from-the-tabloids contestant, such as Bristol Palin or Kate Gosselin from previous seasons.


CBS still pulled out the top spot for the week ending May 8, but it was a somewhat closer race than earlier this season. CBS averaged 10 million viewers, trailed by ABC (9.1 million), Fox (8.4 million) and NBC (5.7 million).

So what’s up? Believe it or not, it all may have something to do with — duh! — Charlie Sheen. CBS has been forced to air repeats of “Two and a Half Men” since production was halted and star Sheen was fired earlier this season. That has caused the network’s entire Monday schedule to droop.

That in turn may be helping “Dancing” hook more viewers on Mondays.

Of course, there’s a big caveat. ‘Idol’ is still way more popular than ‘Dancing’ among young adults — the viewers advertisers really care about. The Wednesday ‘Idol’ logged 8.6 million viewers ages 18 to 49, compared with just 5.9 million for the Monday ‘Dancing.’

Among adults ages 18 to 49, Fox remained No. 1 with a 2.8 rating, followed by ABC (2.5), CBS (2.2) and NBC (2.0).

Still, isn’t it amazing how Sheen can remain at the center of things, even when he’s not on TV?


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— Scott Collins (