Scripted Series Take a Break as Reality TV Rules

Rash Report: 'Idol,' 'Biggest Loser' Win Top Two Slots in Key Demo

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- Scripted series reruns made reality the real deal on network TV last night, as Fox's "American Idol" dominated and NBC's "Biggest Loser" came in a distant second. But repeats on CBS, the CW and two thirds of ABC's schedule made it a particularly poor night for those seeking sitcoms and dramas.

'American Idol'
'American Idol' Credit: Fox
"Idol" defied gravity by actually increasing 10% over last season's second Tuesday show, delivering a 9.9/27 rating and share in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic. It followed with an encore of Sunday's series premiere of "Human Target" (3.4/9) which actually out-delivered the original by 17%. Overall Fox finished first easily with a 6.7/18 average. (All based on Nielsen fast-affiliate ratings, with final live-plus-same-day data delayed due to Monday's holiday.)

NBC (second, 3.4/9) ran a two-hour "Biggest Loser: Couples," which packed on 28% more viewers than last week by delivering a 4.1/11. This helped "The Jay Leno Show" tie a rerun of the timeslot's usual winner, CBS's "The Good Wife," as both posted a 2.0/6.

The "Good Wife" delivery was off 31% from its original episode average. Lead-in dramas "NCIS" (2.6/7) and "NCIS: Los Angeles" (2.5/7) were also off, 41% and 32%, respectively, due to running second showings. Overall CBS was in third with a 2.4/6.

ABC didn't show all repeats, but had ratings that suggested it did. Both "Scrubs" and "Better off Ted" had an original and a rerun ("Scrubs" rerun, 0.8/2, original 1.4/4; "Better off Ted" rerun 0.6/2, original 1.3/3). At 10 p.m. a repeat of "The Forgotten" was remembered by only a 1.0/3, which was ABC's overall fourth-place average.

And the CW, the young-skewing network that should be the most formidable "Idol" alternative, ran reruns -- again -- as "90210" (0.3/1) and "Melrose Place" (0.2/1) combined for a fifth-place 0.3/1.

Rash gridsEnlarge
See how all the shows did in the ratings.

WHAT TO WATCH:
Wednesday: Kristen Chenoweth's cameo on Fox's "Glee" was great, and makes it likely she'll be a worthy guest judge on "American Idol."
Thursday: ABC tries again for a more compatible lead-in to "Grey's Anatomy" with "The Deep End," which seems like "Grey's," only the young characters have traded in surgical scrubs for lawyer's sharp suits.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Ratings for "Human Target," as Fox follows up last night's encore with an original episode.

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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.

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