The 2003-04 TV season went out with a bang for Fox and with a whimper for the other networks. With the ”American Idol” finale airing on the last night of the season, Fox earned a rare victory in the weekly Nielsen ratings race, scoring a one-two punch with the last two ”Idol” episodes — Wednesday’s was tops, drawing 28.8 million, while 25.1 million viewers made Tuesday’s edition the week’s No. 2 show. Even ratings-challenged ”24” benefited from its ”Idol” lead-in, drawing 12.3 million viewers for an eighth-place finish. Overall, Fox averaged 11.5 million viewers for the week.
Opposite the ”Idol” finale, that other music contest, the Academy of Country Music awards on CBS, held its own with 11.6 million viewers, good for 11th place. CBS, which placed six shows in the top 10 (including the usual ”CSI”’s and ”Everybody Loves Raymond”), finished second for the week with an average of 9.6 million viewers. NBC finished third with 7.3 million, followed by ABC (6.4 million). UPN, whose highlight was the season finale of ”Star Trek: Enterprise” (3.9 million), finished with an average of 2.8 million for the week, followed by the WB with 2.3 million.