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Don’t Stop Believin': ‘Glee’ Scores Biggest Ratings Yet

”American Idol“ lead-in boosts the show to record ratings. But it’s no ”House“

"American Idol" gave "Glee" its best ratings ever Tuesday.

The series averaged a 5.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 13.7 million viewers, according to early Nielsen numbers. These figures will change when final Nielsens come out in a little bit, since "Glee’s" numbers include some "American Idol" spillage.

"Glee’s" return outdid the show’s previous season average (with originals) by a whopping 70 percent. It was also the second highest-rated episode of any new series this season, behind only the post-Super Bowl premiere of "Undercover Boss." And it did much, much better than when it premiered after "Idol" last May (by 46 percent, according to "Glee" producer 20th Century Fox TV).

The bad news for Fox (and really, "bad" is relative here) is that "Glee" — despite a relentless marketing campaign — still gave up more than 20 percent of the "Idol" audience in the demo. In overall viewers, "Glee" dropped by around 30 percent.

Sure, big drop-off is expected when you follow a powerhouse show like "Idol." And our pals at Fox note that among adults 18-34 — a demo vitally important… if you’re the CW or MTV — "Glee" appears to have held on all of the "Idol" audience, and maybe even grew a tad.

But if there were ever a show that might have been expected to retain even more of the "Idol" adults 18-49 audience, it’s "Glee," whose audience profile was almost genetically engineered to be the same as "Idol’s." Indeed, it’s worth noting that two years ago, Fox’s "House" had better retention of an "Idol" lead-in.

You know, traditional, non-musical "House," the show with the grumpy dude with the beard and the cane and the pill habit.

That little bit of Debbie Downer dosage aside, don’t be surprised if the entire Fox and 20th Century Fox TV marketing, programming and PR teams breaks out into a little flash mob perfomance of "Vogue" this morning. Led, of course, by scheduling guru — and head "Gleek" — Preston Beckman.

Strike a pose.