Fox woke up to some encouraging American Idol ratings news this morning — the reality hit drew a 9.2 rating/24 in adults 18-49 last night, down only 5% from last Wednesday’s premiere for the highest ever Week 2 vs. Week 1 retention. (Last year’s comparable drop was 14%). There is an asterisk – this year’s Episode 3 was a two-hour one while last year’s was 60 minutes. If only the first hour of last night’s show is counted, the drop would be 12%. Still, given the curiosity factor involved in people tuning in for the premiere to see the new judges, it is a good sign that with the novelty wearing off most viewers came back. Fox easily won the night with Idol.

CBS’ Live to Dance and NBC’s Chase, which were¬†decimated by the premiere of Idol last Wednesday, recovered a bit. Live to Dance (1.1/3), which stars former Idol judge Paula Abdul, was up by a tenth at 8 PM, while NBC’s Chase (1.2/3) was up by two tenths at 9 PM. (The latter was more impressive as Chase‘s lead-in, reality show Minute to Win It (1.4/4) was actually down 13% from last week to tie its series low.) CBS’ drama Criminal Minds (3.2/8) was also up week-to-week, by 10%, but the network’s freshman Blue Bloods (2.0/6, 12 million) was flat in the demo from last week, proving to be impervious to lead-in or competition. In addition to a slightly stronger lead-in, Blue Bloods, which is Week 2 of a trial run on Wednesdays, faced a weaker competition this time, with NBC’ Law & Order: SVU (1.7/5, 5.5 million) airing a rerun vs. an original last week. But, with the other 10 PM show, ABC’s midseason medical drama Off the Map (1.8/5, 5.1 million), down 14% from last week in the demo, Blue Bloods won the hour in 18-49, in addition to a second consecutive victory in total viewers. Off the Map may have been affected by its weaker lead-in. Cougar Town (2.1/5) was down 13% week-to-week as the only original in ABC’s Wednesday comedy block dominated by repeats.