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'NCIS' versus 'American Idol': Mark Harmon is gaining on Simon Cowell

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American Idol is still referred to as the Death Star in Hollywood, but it’s not entirely immune from the charms of Mark Harmon: last night’s original episode of NCIS attracted 20.15 million viewers — the drama’s closest competitive position ever to the Fox talent show in the demographic (24.19 million). In fact, NCIS doesn’t appear to be impacted at all by Simon Cowell and Co.; the drama, now in its seventh season, is actually up 12 percent in viewers and 16 percent in adults 18-49. At the same time, Idol doesn’t seem to be affected by the presence of Harmon and Michael Weatherly, either; though its ratings aren’t nearly as stratospheric as they were in the early years, Idol is still up 3 percent in viewers and 4 percent among adults 18-49 versus last year (a side note, however: last night’s episode was actually down versus last Tuesday by 8 percent in viewers and 12 percent in adults 18-49). In the end, Idol (naturally) won the timeslot while NCIS was second.

For the season, Fox is still down on Tuesdays by 23% in viewers while CBS is actually up by 10%. No one else has anything to brag about for the night: ABC is down by 13%, NBC, 11%, and CW, 21%.

For more about Tuesday night programming:

Tuesday ratings: ‘Idol’ wins again

‘American Idol’: Team Kara or Team Katy?

Exclusive: ‘NCIS: LA’ star goes AWOL

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