- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dancing’ inching up on Fox’s `Idol’

“American Idol” may have some competition on its hands.

ABC‘s “Dancing With the Stars” finished closer to “Idol” than it ever has in a week where both shows were on the air, according to data released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. “Dancing” reached 21.2 million viewers on March 16, while

“Idol” had 21.9 million on March 17; it fared much better when the results shows aired.

“Idol” is in the midst of its semifinal rounds, where interest has traditionally waned compared to the auditions and final few episodes. Fox is also comforted by knowing “Idol” has a much younger audience, considered more valuable to advertisers. The news was less encouraging for ABC’s new comedy “Better Off Ted,” which features Portia de Rossi. It reached only 5.5 million people for its debut last week.

CBS‘ “60 Minutes,” which drew 17 million viewers to watch an interview with President Barack Obama on Sunday, was the most-watched prime-time show last week that did not involve singing and dancing.

CBS won the week, averaging 11.5 million viewers . Fox averaged 10.3 million viewers, ABC had 9.2 million and struggling NBC had 5.7 million. The CW and My Network TV both averaged 1.9 million viewers in prime-time, while. ION Television had 630,000 viewers.

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with 4 million viewers, Telemundo had 1 million, TeleFutura 690,000 and Azteca 180,000.

NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.6 million viewers. ABC’s “World News” was second with 7.9 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.1 million viewers.

For the week of March 16-22, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: 1) “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 23.7 million; 2) “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 21.8 million; 3) “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, 21.2 million; 4) “60 Minutes,” CBS, 17 million; and 5) “NCIS,” CBS, 15.8 million.

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