Fox's highly touted musical/drama preview of "Glee" rode the back of the first part of the "American Idol" finale -- the performance part -- with a healthy Nielsen preliminary 5.0 rating/13 share against 18-49 viewers in its first half-hour, winning the 9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. half hour.
That wasn't too bad, considering it was down from the last half-hour of "Idol," which earned a big 8.8 rating/24 share. But an eye-opening bunch of viewers for the second half-hour of "Glee" had enough -- and left. The show sank to a 3.7/9. ("Idol" earned a 7.8/24 in the first half-hour, giving it an 8.3/24 average for the night. It was the series' lowest-rated final performance night ever.)
In an unusual move, Fox scheduled this "Glee" preview hoping to leave viewers with the ultimate summer buzz, since future episodes will not air until the fall. Critics have been skeptical whether this was a smart marketing move, especially with so much time between the initial and subsequent episodes of the show.
"Glee" was expected to score in the half-hour following "Idol." But also expected were that the finales of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" and CBS' "The Mentalist" would dominate -- always a strong sign of dedicated viewers.
Both shows' ratings rose during the hour: "Stars" climbing to a 4.8/12 from a 4.5/12, and "Mentalist" rising to a 3.9/10 from a 3.6/10. "Stars" kept rising in its next two half-hours -- moving to 5.5/14 and then to a 5.8/16.
, Fox and ABC grabbed the bulk of network viewers, with Fox winning with a 6.4/17 and ABC reaching a 4.1/11. CBS was next. At 8 p.m., its "NCIS" finale managed a respectable 3.4 rating/10 share running against "Idol." The week before, "NCIS" earned a 3.2/9. CBS ended the night at a 3.2/9 -- up just one-tenth of a rating point from its previous outing.
With all the big hitters going full force on the night, NBC got out of the way, with repeats of "Most Outrageous Moments" and "Law & Order: SVU" between 8 and 10 p.m. Then from 10 to 11 p.m., it offered an "SVU" season finale, which took in a 2.4/7. All this gave NBC a tie, with Univision at a 1.5/4.
CW was down week-to-week even with finales of "Reaper" and "90210," which landed the network with a collective 0.9/2 among 18-49 viewers and a 1.1/4 among its more core 18-34 audience. The week before, CW earned a 1.0/3 among 18-49 viewers and a 1.3/4 for 18-34 viewers.