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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.

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‘Idol’ Gives ‘Glee’ Debut a Boost; ‘Dancing’ Hits Season High

May 20, 2009 12:16 PM

Fox easily took Tuesday night with the first part of the “American Idol” finale, which gave “Glee” a solid audience for its spring preview. Meanwhile, ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” crowned its winner with a season high.

Glee

Fox’s “American Idol” scored an 8.6 rating among adults 18-49 and 23.8 million viewers, according to time-zone-adjusted figures the network ordered from Nielsen (all other networks are measured in regular Fast Nationals numbers). Last night’s episode posted a 5% increase over last week, but was down 17% from live-plus-same-day numbers from last year.

Easily the top show of the night, “Idol” gave the spring preview of “Glee” (3.9, 10 million) a strong lead-in. The new hour performed on par with other post-“Idol” events and posted an 8% increase from “Fringe’s” season average in the same time period. (Interest in “Glee” carried over to Apple’s iTunes store, where the cast’s rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” is already the No. 3 most-downloaded song.)

ABC kicked off the night with a recap edition of “Dancing With the Stars,” (1.8/5, 7.7 million), followed by the results finale (5.1/4, 20.3 million). “Dancing” won its 9 and 10 p.m. hours with a new season high. Compared with previous seasons, last night’s finale was on par with its most recent season ender (November 2008) and down 6% from last spring’s finale (May 2008).

The season finale of “The Mentalist” (3.7/10, 16.8 million) posted a 12% increase from last week to remain on par with its season average. “Without a Trace” (2.5/7, 11.3 million) was similarly on par, but dipped 11% from last week due to increased competition in the hour. At 8 p.m., “NCIS” (3.3/10, 16.1 million) remained flat with last week but dipped 11% from its season-to-date average.

NBC aired repeats of “Most Outrageous Moments” and “Law & Order,” followed by a new “Law & Order: SVU” (2.4/7, 6.7 million), which was the series’ lowest-rated original episode ever, against strong competition for the hour.

The CW’s “Reaper” (0.7/2, 1.8 million) led the way for the season finale of “90210” (1.1/3, 2.1 million). The network averaged a 1.4/4 among women 18-34.

For the night: Fox (6.3/17, 16.9 million) led the way, followed by ABC (4.0/11, 16 million), CBS (3.2/9, 14.7 million), NBC (1.5/4, 4.4 million) and The CW (0.9/2, 1.9 million).

Final Nationals update (2:30 p.m.): The results episode of the "Dancing With the Stars" finale climbed to a 5.2/14, while CBS' "NCIS" (3.4/10) and NBC's "Law & Order: SVU" (2.5/7) also increased. Fox's "American Idol" (8.6/25) and "Glee" (3.9/10) remained flat from their time-zone-adjusted numbers. As for network averages, all remained flat.

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