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!

Fox’s ‘Idol’ Train Loses Steam, ‘Top Model’ Bounces

March 5, 2009 10:18 AM

Wednesday night’s “American Idol” on Fox continued the show’s recent ratings dips, hitting a new low for the season. The CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” returned on a strong note.

America's Next Top Model

A results episode of “Idol” scored a 7.7 rating/21 share among adults 18-49 and 22.5 million viewers, down from the previous day’s season low and coming in as the show's lowest-rated Wednesday night (excluding specials) in six years. At 9 p.m. on Fox, a new episode of “Lie to Me” suffered from its lower "Idol" lead-in, retaining a similar share as its previous airing but landing at a new series low with a 3.6/9 (10.2 million). Fox, however, still ranked as the top network for the night with an overall 5.7/15 (16.3 million).

ABC finished second with new episodes of “Lost” (4.8/12, 10.6 million), up 5% from last week, and “Life on Mars” (2.1/6, 5.7 million). Last night's "Lost" ranks as the night's highest-rated scripted series and edged out competition from Fox's "Lie" by its biggest margin yet. A repeat of “Lost” aired in the 8 p.m. hour. Overall the network averaged a 2.9/8 (7 million).

CBS aired a night of reruns and landed in third place with an average 2.2/6 (8.9 million) for the night.

On The CW the two-hour premiere of cycle 12 of “America’s Next Top Model” opened with a 1.8/5 (3.9 million), up 6% over last fall’s season debut. “Top Model” improved 33% from first hour to second hour in the demo after “Idol” ended. The CW finished fourth for the night. Among women 18-34 the network averaged a 3.4/9.

NBC finished fifth (1.5/4, 5.4 million) with the likely series finale of “Knight Rider” (1.8/5, 5.8 million), about average for the season to date, and repeats of “Life” and “Law & Order.”

Updated: 12:52 p.m.

Primetime Preliminary Wednesday Ratings









2.9 / 8


1.6 / 5

4.8 million


4.8 / 12

10.6 million

Life on Mars

2.1 / 6

5.7 million


2.2 / 6

The New Adventures of Old Christine

1.5 / 4

5.5 million

Gary Unmarried

1.6 / 4

5.4 million

Criminal Minds

2.4 / 6

10.3 million


2.7 / 8

10.9 million


5.7 / 15

American Idol

7.7 / 21

22.5 million

Lie to Me

3.6 / 9

10.2 million

No Programming


1.5 / 4

Knight Rider

1.8 / 5

5.8 million


1.3 / 3

4.6 million

Law & Order

1.6 / 4

5.8 million


1.8 / 5

America's Next Top Model

1.8 / 5

3.9 million

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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