MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- Americans watched "American Idol" on Fox, as well as "America's Next Top Model" on the CW, which tied a season high, but little else last night, as repeats and rejected series on rival networks gave Fox an easy victory. Overall the network averaged a 5.3/15 rating and share in the ad-centric 18-to-49 demographic, well ahead of CBS (2.5/7), ABC (2.1/6), NBC (1.5/4) and the CW (1.2/3).
"Idol's" lead-in, "Lie to Me," fell to a series-low 2.3/7 -- yet still won the low-rated 8 p.m. hour. "Top Model" (1.9/6), however, gave the CW an uncharacteristic second place, tied with ABC's "Scrubs" (1.9/6). Right after, "Better Off Ted" (1.7/5) tied a series low. CBS was fourth in the hour with second showings of "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (1.4/5) and "Gary Unmarried" (1.8/5), while NBC finished fifth with a repeat of "Law and Order" (1.2/4).
NBC ran another "Law and Order" rerun at 10 p.m. (1.8/5), as the two sandwiched a repeat of "Law and Order: SVU" (1.5/4), which made NBC seem more TNT in programming and delivery.
CBS had better luck with its police procedural "Criminal Minds" (3.5/10), which won the hour and was up 3% from the usual time-slot sleuths of "CSI:NY." But showing how rerun-resistant even CBS's more traditionally loyal audience is, a "Criminal Minds" rerun at 9 p.m. delivered only a 2.3/6,off 38% from normal levels.
And if CBS watchers are loyal, "Lost" viewers are rabid. Yet even they have limits, as evidenced by a compilation show that declined 37% to a 2.9/7. But even original episodes of a new show couldn't help ABC, as 10 p.m.'s "The Unusuals" (1.4/4) hit its second series low in as many nights.
And after the CW's solid start with "Top Model," a rerun of the remade "90210" (.5/1) lost nearly three-fourths of the rating of its lead-in.
WHAT TO WATCH:
Thursday: Say what you will about sweeps, but all but one network show is an original episode tonight. With all genres well-represented, set your DVRs!
Friday: Then again, even sweeps can't tidy up the mess that defines most Friday-night network TV. So maybe it's time to catch up with the overlooked and underrated, "Everybody Hates Chris" on the CW.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
It's probably the last week in which viewers will begin watching the CBS's "Harper's Island," a serialized series with a limited run. The more episodic "Southland" looks to continue its media momentum as one of the few bright spots for NBC.
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NOTE: All ratings based on adults 18-49. A share is a percentage of adults 18-49 who have their TV sets on at a given time. A rating is a percentage of all adults 18-49, whether or not their sets are turned on. For example, a 1.0 rating is 1% of the total U.S. adults 18-49 population with TVs. Ratings quoted in this column are based on live-plus-same-day unless otherwise noted. (Many ad deals have been negotiated on the basis of commercial-minute, live-plus-three-days viewing.)
John Rash is senior VP-director of media analysis for Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis. For more, see rashreport.com.