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”Idol” ratings still hold up

Fox’s “American Idol” ratings juggernaut is showing no signs of slowing despite the widely publicized report of an affair between judge Paula Abdul and former contestant Corey Clark.

Last Wednesday’s results show was seen by 25.4 million people, almost precisely its season average, according to Nielsen Media Research. Tuesday’s audience was 1 million viewers short of that mark.

It was last Wednesday when ABC’s “Primetime Live” televised an hour-long special detailing Clark’s allegations to an audience of 13.7 million people – a solid but not spectacular showing for a look at the seamy side of TV’s most popular game show.

A quickly arranged “Dr. Phil” special with TV host Pat O’Brien, detailing his problems with alcohol, did less well that same night with an audience of 7.3 million.

CBS, led as usual by “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” easily won the week’s ratings competition. The first of the network’s two-part movie special on Elvis Presley, which aired Sunday night, cracked Nielsen’s top 20 shows.

For the week, CBS averaged 13.2 million viewers in prime time (8.6 rating, 14 share). Fox was second with 10 million viewers (6.2, 11), and won among the 18- to 49-year-old audience that advertisers seek.

ABC averaged 9.9 million (6.3, 11), NBC 9.7 million (6.6, 11), and the WB and UPN both had 3.3 million (both 2.2, 4).

A ratings point represents 1,096,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 109.6 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

The top 10 shows for the week ending Sunday: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 26.6 million viewers; “Desperate Housewives,” ABC, 26.1 million; “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 25.4 million; “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 24.4 million; “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 20.7 million; “Survivor: Palau,” CBS, 20.1 million; “Everybody Loves Raymond,” CBS, 19.4 million; “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 18.9 million; “Two and a Half Men,” CBS, 17.9 million; “Without a Trace,” CBS, 17.9 million.


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