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''Idol'' drives Fox to rare ratings race win

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Julia DeMato, Ruben Studdard, ...
American Idol: Fox

Fox probably wishes it had four different slots of ”American Idol”-branded programming every week. Then it would have more sessions like last week, in which the network’s prime-time entertainment slate won the Nielsen ratings race for only the fifth time in its history (excluding weeks with Super Bowl-sized sporting events). The week’s top show, of course, was Wednesday’s hour-long ”Idol” season finale, which drew 38.1 million viewers, but the three other ”Idol” programs last week (Wednesday’s pre-show, Tuesday’s competition, and Monday’s retrospective) also finished in the top 10.

Overall, Fox averaged 13.2 million viewers for the week, followed by CBS (10.8 million), NBC (10.1 million), and ABC (7.6 million). The WB drew 3.8 million viewers to UPN’s 3.5 million. Both networks launched new shows last week, not that many viewers noticed. Both UPN’s ”America’s Next Top Model (82nd place) and the WB’s ”The O’Keefes” (85th place) drew below-average numbers for their networks.

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