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 ( -- 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.

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.

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

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