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‘Idol’ worship pushes Fox to top of network heap

From the Associated Press

It was a typical week in prime-time television -- “American Idol” dominated everything -- but Fox may have another reason for remembering it fondly: The network moved past CBS into first place for the TV season for average number of viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

For years Fox was regarded as fourth behind the Big Three of CBS, NBC and ABC. Now it’s America’s most popular TV network.

With a full season of “American Idol” to go, it’s likely no one will eclipse Fox before the season ends in May.

The powerful talent competition had just under 30 million viewers for its Tuesday edition last week, and the Wednesday show had 24.8 million. No other show even reached 15 million. ABC’s “Lost” was the most-watched scripted series.

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CBS premiered the broadcast network version of Showtime’s “Dexter” on Sunday to a decent 8.2 million viewers. The series about a serial killer has been the subject of protests for being too disturbing for broadcast.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (Feb. 11-17) as compiled by Nielsen Media Research. They are based on the average number of people who watched a program from start to finish. Nielsen estimates there are 286 million potential viewers in the U.S. ages 2 and older. Viewership is listed in millions.

*--* -- Program Network Viewers *--*

*--* 1 American Idol (Tue.) FOX 29.96 2 American Idol (Wed.) FOX 24.75 3 Moment of Truth FOX 14.01 4 Lost (9 p.m.) ABC 13.76 5 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ABC 13.49 *--*

*--* 6 Survivor: Micronesia CBS 13.18 7 Deal or No Deal (Mon.) NBC 13.15 8 “Knight Rider” NBC 12.72 9 60 Minutes CBS 12.50 10 Deal or No Deal (Thu.) NBC 12.18 *--*

*--* 11 Two and a Half Men CBS 11.90 12 “Fox Daytona 500 Post-Race” FOX 11.76 13 NCIS CBS 11.38 14 Deal or No Deal (Wed.) NBC 11.07 15 CSI CBS 10.87 *--*

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*--* 16 Law & Order (Wed.) NBC 10.22 17 Old Christine CBS 9.89 18 Without a Trace CBS 9.65 19 Cold Case CBS 9.57 20 Dance War ABC 9.16 *--*

*--* 21 Apprentice 7 NBC 9.11 22 Law & Order: Criminal Intent NBC 9.06 23 America’s Funniest Home Videos ABC 8.90 24 American Gladiators (Mon.) NBC 8.82 25 Supernanny ABC 8.80 *--*

*--* 26 CSI: Miami CBS 8.56 27 Brothers & Sisters ABC 8.50 28 Law & Order: SVU (Tue.) NBC 8.34 29 Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles FOX 8.32 30 Dexter CBS 8.20 *--*

*--* 31 1 vs. 100 NBC 8.05 32 Las Vegas NBC 7.98 33 Prison Break FOX 7.84 34 The Simpsons FOX 7.77 35 CSI: NY CBS 7.74 *--*

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*--* 36 Criminal Minds CBS 7.62 37 House (9 p.m.) FOX 7.53 38 “Celine Dion: That’s Just the Woman in Me” CBS 7.48 39 Eli Stone ABC 7.46 40 Biggest Loser 5 NBC 7.40 *--*

*--* 41 American Gladiators (Sun.) NBC 7.33 42 Family Guy FOX 7.29 43 Boston Legal ABC 7.25 44 Jericho CBS 7.08 45 How I Met Your Mother CBS 7.06 *--*

*--* 46 Welcome to the Captain CBS 7.03 47 Big Brother (Tue.) CBS 6.88 48 20/20 ABC 6.79 49 House (8 p.m.) FOX 6.76 50 Cops (8:30 p.m.) FOX 6.67 *--*

*--* 51 Numb3rs CBS 6.63 52 Big Brother (Sun.) CBS 6.58 53 Law & Order (Sat.) NBC 6.54 54 Ghost Whisperer CBS 6.47 55 King of the Hill (8:30 p.m.) FOX 6.45 *--*

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*--* 56 America’s Most Wanted FOX 6.42 57 Law & Order: SVU (Sat.) NBC 6.27 58 48 Hours Mystery CBS 6.23 59 Lost (8 p.m.) ABC 6.21 60 Lipstick Jungle NBC 6.00 *--*

*--* 61 Cops (8 p.m.) FOX 5.97 62 Big Brother 9 (Wed.) CBS 5.65 63 American Dad FOX 5.35 64 Cashmere Mafia ABC 5.31 65 Al Diablo con los Guapos (Mon.) UNI 5.22 *--*

*--* 66 Wife Swap ABC 5.18 Law & Order: Criminal NBC 5.18 Intent (Sat.) 68 Just for Laughs (8 p.m.) ABC 5.07 69 King of the Hill (7:30 FOX 5.06 p.m.) 70 Al Diablo con los UNI 4.99 Guapos (Wed.) *--*

*--* 71 Al Diablo con los Guapos (Fri.) UNI 4.93 72 According to Jim ABC 4.91 73 Just for Laughs (8:30 p.m.) ABC 4.78 74 Al Diablo con los Guapos (Thu.) UNI 4.75 75 Al Diablo con los Guapos (Tue.) UNI 4.57 *--*

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*--* 76 Friday Night Smackdown CW 4.56 77 Pasion (Mon.) UNI 4.34 78 Notes From the Underbelly ABC 4.15 79 48 Hours Mystery CBS 4.10 80 October Road ABC 4.00 *--*

*--* 81 “Miracle” ABC 3.94 82 Carpoolers ABC 3.90 83 “39th NAACP Image Awards” FOX 3.85 84 Cristina UNI 3.74 85 Smallville CW 3.67 *--*

*--* Pasion (Wed.) UNI 3.67 87 Pasion (Fri.) UNI 3.62 88 Yo Amo Juan Querendon (Tue.) UNI 3.57 89 Pasion (Tue.) UNI 3.52 90 Grey’s Anatomy ABC 3.51 *--*

*--* 91 Familia P. Luche UNI 3.43 Yo Amo Juan Querendon (Mon.) UNI 3.43 93 Yo Amo Juan Querendon (Wed.) UNI 3.41 Pasion (Thu.) UNI 3.41 95 Yo Amo Juan Querendon (Fri.) UNI 3.30 *--*

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*--* 96 Retro P. Luche UNI 3.19 97 One Tree Hill CW 3.16 98 Desperate Housewives ABC 3.14 99 Yo Amo Juan Querendon (Thu.) UNI 3.12 *--*

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Network averages

Here is the number of viewers (in millions) that each network averaged per hour of prime time, for last week and for the season.

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*--* Network Last week Season to date FOX 11.49 10.87

NBC 8.90 8.34

CBS 8.05 10.53

ABC 6.95 9:07

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UNI 3.42 3.49

CW 2.23 2.50 *--*


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