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Ratings Report: Fox finishes the season ranked No. 1

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It seems like an empty victory given the 100-day writers strike and the lack of breakout hits, but, for the first time ever, Fox is ending a season with the most viewers of any network. The American Idol-fueled network is already slated to win the 2007-08 season in the all-important adults 18-49 demo, but what is notable is its unprecedented viewer average: 11.1 million, 600,000 more than second place CBS. In fact, Fox is expected to finish the season at No. 1 in all key demographics, including young adults, men, and teens — a testament to its largely strike-proof schedule (and the benefit of having aired the Super Bowl). Fox was the only network to build on adults 18-49 versus last year, while NBC lost 10 percent, ABC was down 14 percent, CBS dropped 19 percent, and the CW fell 15 percent.

Once again, American Idol is slated to finish out the year as TV’s most-watched program, though the show’s Tuesday installments were down by five percent from a year ago (to 28.8 million viewers) and Wednesdays were down by 10 percent (27.3 million). Desperate Housewives was the most-watched drama of the season with an audience of 18.2 million, up 4 percent versus last year.

The 2007-08 season officially ends on Wednesday.