'Idol' Still Strong, Puts Fox In The Lead For 18-49 Viewers
Tuesday's finale broadcast--the winner was crowned in a two-hour special last night--drew 30.6 million viewers, a 9 percent jump over a year ago. The showdown between finalists Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee also posted an 11.8 in the adult 18-to-49 demo--a more modest 2 percent gain over the same broadcast a year ago.
As it has all season, "Idol" also gave a lift to surging drama "House," which followed it. "House" drew an all-time high of 25.7 million viewers--well above its season average of 17 million--and a record 10.3 in the 18-to-49 demo. "House" retained 87 percent of its "Idol" lead-in audience.
"Idol"'s continued strength will power Fox into first place for the season--which ended last night--in the coveted 18-to-49 demo, putting the News Corp. network in the pole position as the upfront looms. With three nights to go, Fox led the demo with a 4.3 in regularly scheduled programming--the core of what's sold in the upfront--with CBS and ABC tied for second at 3.9, and NBC in third with a 3.2. Fox improved upon last year by 13 percent.
CBS was poised to finish first in both total viewers and adults 25 to 54. In 25 to 54, CBS held a commanding lead with a 5.0; ABC and Fox were tied at a 4.5, and NBC was significantly farther back at a 3.9.