'Idol' Regains Season Ratings Crown

American Idol winner David CookFor the second night in a row, Fox's "American Idol" pulled the profile of network prime time up a bit--by the scruff of the neck.

The "Idol" results show, which crowned the program's season-seven champion with rocker David Cook, equaled its adults 18-49 rating versus a year ago--with a massive 11.4 rating/29 share, which was Fox's average for the night. Overall, viewers also increased slightly to 31.7 million viewers from 30.8 million the year before.

Although the "Idol" finale is still down a big 20% versus the 2006 edition of the show, it's still good news for Fox, considering that many TV finales this season, and the May sweep in general, have seen dramatically lower viewership.

On Tuesday night, the ratings for the finale performance show of "Idol" were also slightly higher than the same day a year ago, which eventually gave Jordin Sparks the win.

Fox also sees this as good news--since for most of March and April, "Idol" regular-season ratings were down typically by 10% or more, versus the same days of a year ago.

Not surprisingly, the two-hour finale of "Idol" beat the other four network shows combined by some 14 share points in the 18-49, 25-54 and 18-34 viewer demos, and by 22 share points among teens 12-17.

Other networks didn't exactly run and hide with repeats of their respective big shows:

CBS' two dramas posted the next-best results: the finale of "Criminal Minds" with a 3.3/8 and a finale of "CSI: NY" with a 3.1/8. This helped give CBS a distant second-place victory to Fox with a 2.7/7.

NBC and ABC were much further down the line--with Univision rising to take a noted third-place tie on the night, earning a 1.7/4.

NBC's highlight was a season finale of "Law & Order," which registered a 2.5/7.

ABC not only finished behind Univision--for the second day in a row--but was also behind TNT's NBA Playoffs. Its lone season finale, "Boston Legal," opened a few eyes with a 1.5/4. Adding in a two-hour repeat of "Lost" with a 1.0/2 in the first hour, and 1.3/3 in its second hour, ABC saw a 1.2/4 average for Wednesday.

CW took a 0.6/2 average from two encores of reality show "Farmer Wants a Wife."

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