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Ratings: 'American Idol' roars back but gets sidelined by football for the week

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Despite being dubbed TV’s biggest television show, Fox’s powerhouse karaoke series American Idol didn’t top the ratings in its season 8 premiere during the week ending Jan. 18. Why? Because we’re still in football season, of course! CBS’s airing of the AFC Championship game — in which the Pittsburgh Steelers took down the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday evening — steamrolled to the week’s top spot, drawing an extremely healthy 40.6 million viewers. (In fact, that NFL showdown was the most-watched telecast on broadcast TV so far all season. Don’t worry, though, the Super Bowl on Feb. 1 will blow that record out of the water.)

But, yes, aside from football, American Idol was TV’s biggest show, coming in with 30.4 million and 30.3 million viewers for its Tuesday and Wednesday airings, respectively. Despite a 33 percent increase in the number of judges on the show (hello, Kara DioGuardi), the Tuesday night premiere was down 9 percent from American Idol‘s season 7 debut exactly one year ago.

The rest of the Top 20 is dominated by — can you guess? — CBS, highlighted by its top-rated show, CSI, which said farewell to William Petersen’s Gil Grissom on Thursday night and managed to snag 24.2 million viewers at No. 4. In fact, the episode was CSI‘s highest-rated hour since its season 8 premiere all the way back in September 2007. Literally, every other show in the Top 20 is from CBS — except for the poor showings of Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives (which tied at No. 13 with 13.1 million viewers), and an on-par outing from Fox’s 24, which rolled in at No. 17 with 12.3 million viewers in its second week.

The complete Top 20 for the week is after the jump.

1. AFC Championship | CBS | 40.6 million
2. American Idol | Fox | 30.4 million
3. American Idol | Fox | 30.3 million
4. CSI | CBS | 24.2 million
5. NCIS | CBS | 18.6 million
6. The Mentalist | CBS | 18.1 million
7. Two and a Half Men | CBS | 17.1 million
8. The Mentalist | CBS | 16.4 million
9. CSI: Miami | CBS | 15.8 million
10. CSI (R) | CBS | 15.5 million
11. Criminal Minds | CBS | 13.8 million
12. Eleventh Hour | CBS | 13.2 million
13. Grey’s Anatomy | ABC | 13.1 million
14. Desperate Housewives | ABC | 13.1 million
15. CSI: NY | CBS | 12.7 million
16. Without a Trace | CBS | 12.4 million
17. 24 | Fox | 12.3 million
18. The Big Bang Theory | CBS | 11.8 million
19. How I Met Your Mother | CBS | 11.8 million
20. Numb3rs | CBS | 11.0 million

1. AFC Championship | CBS | 40.6 million
2. American Idol | Fox | 30.4 million
3. American Idol | Fox | 30.3 million
4. CSI | CBS | 24.2 million
5. NCIS | CBS | 18.6 million
6. The Mentalist | CBS | 18.1 million
7. Two and a Half Men | CBS | 17.1 million
8. The Mentalist | CBS | 16.4 million
9. CSI: Miami | CBS | 15.8 million
10. CSI (R) | CBS | 15.5 million
11. Criminal Minds | CBS | 13.8 million
12. Eleventh Hour | CBS | 13.2 million
13. Grey’s Anatomy | ABC | 13.1 million
14. Desperate Housewives | ABC | 13.1 million
15. CSI: NY | CBS | 12.7 million
16. Without a Trace | CBS | 12.4 million
17. 24 | Fox | 12.3 million
18. The Big Bang Theory | CBS | 11.8 million
19. How I Met Your Mother | CBS | 11.8 million
20. Numb3rs | CBS | 11.0 million