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''American Idol'' tops weekly ratings race

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Fox probably wishes it could air ”American Idol” every night of the week; fans certainly wouldn’t seem to mind. The three episodes that aired last week finished among the top 10 shows of the week, with Tuesday’s edition landing on top of Nielsen’s chart with 30.1 million viewers — the biggest audience yet for the show, save last year’s Ruben Studdard-crowning season finale. Last week’s other music show, the Grammys, finished fourth, drawing 26.3 million. (Maybe CBS should have let Simon Cowell critique the performances by Sting and Celine Dion.)

Still, while ”Idol” ensured a Fox win in the coveted 18-to-49 demographic, CBS still drew the most viewers overall. The Grammys, a new episode of ”CSI: Crime Scene Investigaton” (the No. 2 show, with an audience of 29.3 million), and top-10 finishers ”Survivor: All-Stars” (No. 6), ”CSI: Miami” (No. 9), and ”Without a Trace” (No. 10) all helped CBS average 15.4 million viewers. Second-place Fox averaged 11.7 million viewers, edging out NBC (11.6 million). ABC was a distant fourth, averaging 8.5 million. The WB, helped by a strong showing for ”Smallville” (5.3 million), beat UPN by a hair, averaging 3.59 million viewers to UPN’s 3.57 million.

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