Its usual two-hour Tuesday performance show was moved to Wednesday -- due to the presidential address -- and the show did its usual damage by posting a crushing Nielsen preliminary 9.1 rating/24 share.
As usual, other networks ran for cover, or offered up some sacrificial lambs. CBS had up a clip show for "Survivor: Tocantins," which mustered a 2.3/6, good for second place. ABC threw "Scrubs" to the wolves, grabbing a 2.0/6 -- down from its recent outings. NBC had its "Chopping Block" dulled to a 0.9/2 from a 1.3/4 the week before.
ABC's "Better Off Ted" -- which a week ago posted ABC's worst comedy debut in four years -- moved south to a 1.8/5 at 8:30 p.m., against the teeth of "Idol."
Only CW's "America's Next Top Model" was able to put up a good fight. It lost some audience from a week ago, but didn't get crushed. Its core 18-34 viewer numbers went to a 1.6/5 from a 1.9/6 the week before. The show's 18-49 numbers were trimmed to a 1.4/4 from a 1.6/5.
At 9 p.m., "Idol" improved greatly on its own results show of a week ago, earning a 9.8/23 versus an 8.4/21. ABC's "Lost" lost ground, losing two-tenths of a rating point, going to a series low 4.0/10.
CBS' "Criminal Minds," however, went in the other direction -- picking up two-tenths of a rating point, at a 3.4/8. It even was up in "Idol" more core younger 18-34 viewers, at a 2.3/6 from a 2.1/6 the week before.
At 10 p.m., with "Idol" out of the way, the dust settled with CBS' "CSI: NY" winning the time period again with a 3.0/8, a bit lower than the week before. NBC's "Law & Order" and ABC's "Life on Mars" were in a virtual tie for second place: "Order" getting to a 2.2/6 and "Mars" at a 2.1/6.
The night's averages among 18-49ers: Fox, a 9.2/23; CBS, a 2.9/8; ABC, a 2.7/7; Univision, a 1.7/5; NBC, a 1.5/4; and CW, a 0.9/2.