Season Win: Fox Gets Coveted 18-49s, CBS Earns Total Viewer Crown

FOX's American IdolNo surprise here: Fox is looking to repeat its success as the champion of the prized 18-49 viewers this year -- but its victory gap could be closer than a year ago.

With just a few days until the end of the season, Fox currently has a season prime-time average of a Nielsen 3.3 live-plus-same-day rating among 18-49 viewers, down from 3.7 a year ago. Some of this loss is the result of lower numbers for its still-high-powered show, "American Idol."

In second place is CBS at a 2.8, with ABC just a tick behind at a 2.7. NBC is in fourth place again, at a 2.5. This season-to-date, viewer data is from Sept. 22 to April 26.

CBS is the only one of the big four networks on par with its results a year ago in this demographic. ABC is down one-tenth of a rating point, and NBC is down three-tenths. The CW is off two-tenths to a 0.8, while MyNetworkTV is up one-tenth to a 0.5 rating versus its results of a year ago.

CBS will regain its total viewership crown, which it gave up to Fox a year ago during the strike-shortened season. Currently. the network is averaging 10.8 million, versus 9.9 million prime-time viewers in the 2007-2008 season.

All other major networks have lost ground. Fox is down at 9.0 million from 9.9 million a year ago. ABC is averaging 8.4 million from 8.8 million. NBC has dropped to 7.1 million from 8.0 million. Among the smaller networks, CW has sunk to 1.8 million from 2.4 million. MyNetworkTV has risen to 1.7 million from 1.1 million.

For younger viewers, Fox will take the crown again -- although with lower ratings than a year ago, down to a 2.9 among 18-34 viewers from a 3.3. ABC was the only big network to maintain its younger viewers -- with a 2.2 rating versus the same number it earned a year ago --bringing it to second place behind Fox.

NBC was one-tenth behind ABC at a 2.1 rating, down from a 2.2 a year ago. Farther back is CW at a 0.9 rating, down from 1.0 a year ago. MyNetwork showed a bit of improvement, now at a 0.5 rating versus 0.4 a year ago.

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