Airing on a special night, "American Idol" led Fox to an easy ratings win as ABC's "Cougar Town" and "The River," hit series lows Tuesday, according to preliminary numbers.
Airing from 8 to 10 p.m., "Idol" saw a 10 percent dropoff from last Wednesday's episode but still posted the night's top ratings, a 5.0 rating/13 share in the adults 18-49 demographic. It drew 15.8 million total viewers. Fox was the top-rated and most-watched network of the night, and "Idol" the top-rated show, though not the most-watched. Last week, its Thursday episode earned the show's lowest ratings since its first season in 2002.
CBS was second in ratings and total viewers with an average 2.8/7 in the demo and 14.5 million. "NCIS" at 8 dipped slightly from last week to hit a season low of 3.4/9 in the demo, with 18 million total viewers, which made it the most-watched program of the night. "NCIS: LA" the following hour bounced back from last week's season low with a 15 percent increase in the demo to take a 3.1/8 with 15.7 million total viewers. "Unforgettable" at 10 saw a modest decline and hit a season low of 1.9/5 in the demo, with 9.9 million total viewers.
NBC came in third in ratings and fourth in total viewership with an average 2.0/5 in the demo and 5.5 million. "The Biggest Loser" at 8 dropped 13 percent from last week to hit a season low of 2.0/5 in the demo and 5.7 million total viewers, while the "Parenthood" season finale at 10 grew 12 percent for a 1.9/5 in the demo with 5.1 million total viewers.
ABC was fourth place in ratings and third in viewers with an average 1.6/4 in the demo 5.6 million. "Last Man Standing" at 8 saw a modest decline from last week to hit a series low of 2.1/6 and 7.4 million total viewers. At 8:30, "Cougar Town," which returned to the air with a series low earlier this month, dropped 12 percent from last week to hit a new nadir of 1.5/4 in the demo. It had 4.3 million total viewers. "The River" at 9, which premiered to discouraging numbers in early February, also hit a series low, dropping 12 percent to a 1.5/4 in the demo and 4 million total viewers. The night closed with "Body of Proof" at 10, which slipped 13 percent from last week for a 1.3/4 in the demo and 6.7 million total viewers.