In Depth

‘Idol’ Beats Obama in Tuesday Night Ratings

Going head-to-head on Tuesday night, Fox’s “American Idol” beat out prime-time coverage of the presidential inauguration on ABC, and outranked other networks’ inauguration coverage throughout the night as well.

‘Idol’ scored an 8.9 rating/22 share among adults 18-49 and a 12.1/18 in households, drawing 22.4 million people in the 8 p.m. hour, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data. On ABC, “The Neighborhood Ball: An Inauguration Celebration” averaged a 3.7/9 in the demo and a 7.9/12 among households, drawing 12.6 million viewers from 8-10 p.m.

ABC was the only network with prime-time inauguration coverage that directly went up against ‘Idol.’

At 9 p.m. CBS’ “Change and Challenge: The Inauguration of Barack Obama” scored a 1.8/4 in the demographic and a 4.5/7 among households (6.9 million viewers). At 10 p.m. NBC’s “Dateline” inauguration special scored a 2.2/6 among viewers 18-49, a 4.1/7 in households and 6.2 million viewers. ABC’s “A Moment in History: The Inauguration of Barack Obama” posted a 2.9/7 in adults 18-49 in the time period, and a 6.2/10 in households and 9.5 million viewers.

Prime-time presidential inauguration specials capped off a full day of live coverage from Washington D.C. Ratings and viewership information for daytime coverage will be available later today.

In its second week out, ‘Idol’ was down 24% in the demographic, 23% among households and 26% in total viewers, but still ranked as the top show of the night.

See Ratings Chart Attack! for the full Tuesday-night ratings story later today.