By James Hibberd
Updated March 06, 2013 at 04:48 PM EST
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Another show was on the verge of beating Fox’s American Idol last night. CBS’ veteran procedural NCIS made a grab for the ratings crown, while on NBC there was more bad news for Smash.

Last night’s special two-hour Tuesday edition of Idol (11.5 million viewers, 3.4 adults 18-49 rating) had a higher demo rating than the one-hour NCIS (20.3 million, 3.3). But in the 8 p.m. hour, when the two shows ran head to head, NCIS edged out the reality titan by a tenth of a point (3.3 for NCIS vs. 3.2 for Idol) in the morning numbers.

Obviously, among total viewers, the match-up between the two shows was no contest, with NCIS having nearly double the audience of Idol (cue the protests of viewers over 49 years old — yes, we agree it’s unfair that networks place such high value on the 18-49 demo compared to total audience, and we’ll happily stop weighing that metric so heavily in our coverage as soon as broadcasters stop canceling shows with 10 million viewers and poor demo ratings). Fox points out the Top 10 Girls performance show was running “out of pattern” on a special night, so ratings were expected to be lower than the show’s usual Wednesday slot. Still, Idol was down 11 percent to yet another low.

Meanwhile, ratings were tarnished for the second week of CBS’ freshman cop drama Golden Boy, which dipped. ABC’s Celebrity Wife Swap, this week lacking the crafty tabloid-friendly casting of Kate Gosselin and Kendra Wilkinson, fell sharply from its premiere, down 38 percent.

And then there’s NBC’s Smash…

Smash crashed 22 percent to a new series low — and this pricey drama did not have 22 percent to give. If asked a couple weeks ago, even after the show’s ultra-weak premiere, I would have said there’s no way that NBC will yank Smash from its schedule before the end of the show’s second season (there will not be a third). But now that the musical is within a tenth of a demo point of The CW’s Hart of Dixie (!)… perhaps NBC’s affiliates will schedule some more Matlock?

Full Chart:

FOX

8-10P

AMERICAN IDOL

S

#1

3.4

11,493

ABC

8-9P

WIFE SWAP

#5

1.5

4,074

9-10P

TASTE

#6t

1.2

3,170

10-11P

BODY-PROOF

#6t

1.2

6,502

CBS

8-9P

NCIS

#2

3.3

20,345

9-10P

NCIS:LA

#3

2.8

15,946

10-11P

GOLDEN BOY

S

#4

1.6

9,271

NBC

8:00P

OFF-RCKRS8

R

#10

1.0

3,638

8:30P

OFF-RKR830

#8t

1.1

3,613

9:00P

GO ON

#8t

1.1

3,036

9:30P

NEW NORMAL

#11

0.9

2,443

10-11P

SMASH

#12

0.7

2,614

CW

8-9P

HART-DIXIE

#13

0.6

1,443

9-10P

BEAUTY BEAST

RP

#14

0.3

753

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