‘Dancing With the Stars’ mops up the floor with ‘American Idol’

ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” outdrew both editions of Fox Broadcasting’s “American Idol” to become last week’s most-watched prime-time television program, marking the first time any regular series -- outside of post-Super Bowl shows -- has bested the ratings giant in nearly five years.

“Dancing With the Stars’ ” two-hour competition edition on March 29 averaged 22.97 million viewers, a series high outside of premieres and finales, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by the Nielsen Co.

The last time both weekly “Idol” episodes were beaten by regular series, outside of post-Super Bowl shows, was the week of May 16-22, 2005, when the series finale of the CBS comedy “Everybody Loves Raymond,” the CBS drama “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and the first-season finale of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” did it.

CBS had five of the week’s six most-watched scripted programs to be the most-watched network for the fourth consecutive week and 21st time in the television season’s 28 weeks, averaging 10.12 million viewers.


ABC was second among major networks, averaging 8.53 million. Fox was third, averaging 8.47 million viewers, followed by NBC, which averaged 5.77 million, and the CW at 1.87 million.

A 1-2 finish by the two segments of the pro wrestling program “WWE Raw” helped USA become the most-watched cable network in prime time for the 10th week in a row, averaging 3.07 million viewers. “WWE Raw’s” final 73-minute segment was the week’s most-watched prime-time cable program, averaging 5.80 million viewers, which would have put it 47th among the programs shown on the five major broadcast networks.