Ratings Chart Attack! is the TV industry’s destination for a daily dose of prime-time ratings. Delivering the daily scoop on which shows are scoring. TVWeek’s Sergio Ibarra calls the winners and losers, and what it means to broadcast network programmers. From day-in, day-out ratings to long-view trends and noteworthy performances, Ratings Chart Attack! delivers.


Ratings Chart Attack!

'Idol' Posts Gains, 'Lost' Beats 'Lie' in Demo

January 29, 2009 11:34 AM

Fox's "American Idol" showed improvements over last week while the second episode of "Lost" beat "Lie to Me" to take the number two spot for the night. Lost

"Idol" posted a 3% rating gain among adults 18-49 and a 4% increase in total viewers from its performance last week, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research information. Last night's episode also matched the same audition episode from this time last year in the demographic. "Lie" to me was down 10% from its debut last week and came in as the night's No. 3 show, but still edged out a new "Lost" in total viewers for the 9 p.m. hour. Fox averaged a 7.2/18 (19.5 million) for the night.

ABC finished the night second with a 2.9/7 (7.6 million). A "Lost" repeat opened the night at 8 p.m. A new episode at 9 p.m. dipped 4% from its two-hour season premiere last week. At 10 p.m., the time-period debut of "Life on Mars" pulled in the lowest rating for the series ever, yet matched the debut of "Cashmere Mafia" this time last year. Wednesday's "Mars" was down 15% from its season-to-date average during its Thursday-night run.

In third place was NBC with an average 2.1/5 (7.2 million) for the night. A "Law & Order: SVU" repeat aired between new episodes of "Knight Rider" and "Law & Order," both which posted 27% and 8% increases, respectively, from last week.

CBS finished fourth with a night of scripted series repeats. A Katie Couric news special at 8 p.m. scored a 1.2/3 (6.5 million) for its half hour.

The CW aired repeats of "Privileged" and "90210," averaging a 0.4/1 (1 million) in the demographic and a 0.6 rating among women 18-34.

Prime Time Preliminary Wednesday Ratings









2.9 / 7


1.7 / 4

5.3 million


4.8 / 11

11.1 mil

Life on Mars

2.3 / 6

6.5 million


2.0 / 5

Katie Couric News Special

1.2 / 3

6.5 mil

The New Adventures of Old Christine

1.1 / 3

5 mil

Criminal Minds

2.5 / 6

10.6 mil


2.4 / 6

9.5 mil


7.2 / 18

American Idol

10.1 / 25

27 mil

Lie to Me

4.4 / 10

12.1 mil

No Programming


2.1 / 5

Knight Rider

1.9 / 5

6.1 mil

Law & Order: SVU

1.9 / 4

6.4 mil

Law & Order

2.6 / 7

8.9 mil


0.4 / 1


0.4 / 1

1.1 mil


0.4/ 1

1 mil

No Programming

Source: Nielsen Media Research

*Ratings are specified in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic and viewership in P2+.

A note about ratings: Ratings are expressed as percentages of Nielsen's estimated 114.5 million U.S. television households. The first number, the rating, is a percentage of households tuned into a specific program at a specific time.

The second number, the share, is a percentage of households with televisions in use tuned into that same program. For example, if a show obtains a 10.2/16, this means that 10.2% of all U.S. households tuned into the program at some point during the broadcast. Meanwhile, 16% of all households watching television during the time period viewed the program at some point. Ratings are broken down further by demographic, as networks sell advertising time based on the makeup of the audience.


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