TV Ratings: 'American Idol' down just 3.5% from premiere, still wins easily

scott-mccreary-american-idol.jpgFast National ratings for Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011

"American Idol" fell slightly from last week's premiere, averaging 25.2 million viewers over last week's 26.1 million. The first hour lost about 5% of viewers from the first hour of the premiere, while the second hour only lost 2%, as the show once again saw a rise in viewers from the first half to the second half.

Interestingly, the second Wednesday show is only down 3.5% from the premiere, but the first Thursday night show lost almost 14% from the premiere. The second Wednesday episode actually did 2.6 million viewers better than the first Thursday night show. Thursdays are not a traditional "Idol" night and it's looking like maybe the competition is stiffer or that the hour-long format, as opposed to the two-hour format, is less appealing. It will be interesting to see how tonight's episode fares.

Things are not looking good for "Off the Map," as the show could not beat a "Law & Order: SVU" rerun. "Live to Dance" with Paula Abdul also slipped a bit from last week and so did "Cougar Town" without a new "Modern Family" as a lead-in.

Overall, "Idol" won handily with its 25.5 million viewers and a 13.7 rating/21 share in households. CBS was next with 9.9 million and 6.2/10, followed by ABC at 6 million, 3.9/6. NBC was next with 4.9 million, 3.1/5 and the CW's reruns were last with 1.2 million, 0.8/1.

In the 18-49 demo, FOX was also successful, with a 9.2 rating, more than four times the number of the next closest competitor. ABC and CBS tied at 2.1, NBC earned a 1.4 and the CW had a 0.4.

Wednesday hour by hour:

8 p.m.

FOX: "American Idol" (23.8 million, 13.0/21)
ABC: "The Middle" reruns (6.8 million viewers, 4.3/7 households)
NBC: "Minute to Win It" (5.0 million, 3.1/5)
CBS: "Live to Dance" (4.8 million, 3.1/5)
The CW: "Nikita" rerun (1.5 million, 1.0/2)

18-49 leader: "American Idol" (8.5)

9 p.m.

FOX: "American Idol" (26.6 million, 14.4/22)
CBS: "Criminal Minds" (12.9 million, 7.9/12)
ABC: "Modern Family" rerun (7.3 million, 4.6/7) / "Cougar Town" (5.1 million, 3.2/5)
NBC: "Chase" (4.1 million, 2.7/4)
The CW: "Vampire Diaries" rerun (939,000, 0.5/1)

18-49 leader: "American Idol" (9.8)

10 p.m.

CBS: "Blue Bloods" (12.0 million, 7.5/13)
NBC: "Law & Order: SVU" rerun (5.5 million, 3.6/6)
ABC: "Off the Map" (5.1 million, 3.3/6)

18-49 leader: "Blue Bloods" (2.0)

Ratings information includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are preliminary and subject to change, especially in the case of live telecasts. Source: The Nielsen Company.

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Photo/Video credit: FOX