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.