'Dancing with the Stars' is No. 1 ... for now

dwts-vs-idol-ratings-320.jpgWhen the weekly Nielsen ratings come out Tuesday, they'll show something that hasn't happened for a long time: A regularly scheduled show other than "American Idol" at the top.

The crown for this week will go to "Dancing with the Stars," whose Monday (March 29) performance episode bested "American Idol's" Tuesday (March 30) performance show by about a million viewers. "Dancing" scored 22.97 million viewers to 21.84 million for "Idol."

ABC has already started touting "Dancing" as the No. 1 show on television, noting that the Monday shows have averaged 23.6 million viewers over the past two weeks to 23 million for the Tuesday "Idol." And it's a significant accomplishment -- nothing except big sporting events like the NFL playoffs and this year's Winter Olympics and the Oscars has outdrawn "Idol" in any given week in years.

But it might only be a temporary victory.

In mid-April, Nielsen will release the seven-day DVR ratings for this week. So far this season the Tuesday "Idol" has added about 2.1 million viewers per episode through DVR viewing, which would push Tuesday's show to just under 24 million people. We don't have DVR figures for the new season of "DWTS" yet, but its fall run added only about 640,000 viewers per episode. The new run would have to do better than that to keep "Idol" from passing it.

And in the adults 18-49 demographic that networks and advertisers profess to care about most? No contest. "American Idol" scored a 7.7 rating in the demo this week, two points better than the 5.6 for "Dancing with the Stars."

The race will probably be similarly close for the rest of the season. Stay tuned.

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Related:

Zap2it's 'Dancing with the Stars' coverage
Zap2it's State of the 'American Idol' union

Photo credits: ABC (Bruno Tonioli), FOX (Simon Cowell)