Originally created 05/11/05

Controversy has little effect on 'American Idol' ratings

NEW YORK - Fox's "American Idol" ratings juggernaut showed no signs of slowing despite the widely publicized report of an affair between judge Paula Abdul and first-year contender Corey Clark.

Last Wednesday's results show was seen by 25.4 million people, almost precisely its season average, according to Nielsen Media Research. Tuesday's audience was one million viewers short of that mark.

It was last Wednesday when ABC's "Primetime Live" televised an hour-long special detailing Clark's allegations to an audience of 13.7 million people, a solid but not spectacular showing for a look at the seamy side of TV's most popular game.

A quickly arranged "Dr. Phil" special with Pat O'Brien detailing his problems with alcohol did less well Wednesday, with an audience of 7.3 million.

CBS, led as usual by "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," easily won the week's ratings competition. The first of the network's two-part movie special on Elvis Presley cracked Nielsen's top 20 shows.

CBS averaged 13.2 million viewers last week (8.6 rating, 14 share). Fox was second with 10 million viewers (6.2, 11), and won among the 18-to-49-year-old audience that advertisers seek. ABC had 9.9 million (6.3, 11), NBC had 9.7 million (6.6, 11), the WB and UPN both had 3.3 million viewers (both 2.2, 4) and Pax TV had 570,000 (0.4, 1).

NBC's "Nightly News" won the extremely tight evening news ratings race, averaging 8.64 million viewers (6.3, 13). ABC's "World News Tonight" had 8.55 million viewers (6.0, 13) and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.6 million (4.7, 10).

A ratings point represents 1,096,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 109.6 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen Media Research for May 2-8. Top 20 listings include the week's ranking, with viewership for the week and season-to-date rankings in parentheses. An "X" in parentheses denotes a one-time-only presentation.

1. "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 26.6 million viewers.

2. "Desperate Housewives," ABC, 26.1 million viewers.

3. "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 25.4 million viewers.

4. "American Idol" (Tuesday), Fox, 24.4 million viewers.

5. "CSI: Miami," CBS, 20.7 million viewers.

6. "Survivor: Palau," CBS, 20.1 million viewers.

7. "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS, million viewers.

8. "Grey's Anatomy," ABC, 18.9 million viewers.

9. "Two and a Half Men," CBS, 17.9 million viewers.

10. "Without a Trace," CBS, 17.9 million viewers.

11. "Lost," ABC, 17.2 million viewers.

12. "House," Fox, 17.1 million viewers.

13. "Law and Order: SVU," NBC, 16.5 million viewers.

14. "E.R.," NBC, 15.7 million viewers.

15. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," ABC, 15.4 million viewers.

16. "Cold Case," CBS, 14.8 million viewers.

17. "CBS Sunday Movie: Elvis, Part 1," CBS, 13.9 million viewers

18. "Primetime Live Special Edition," ABC, 13.7 million viewers.

19. "NCIS," CBS, 13.5 million viewers.

20. "CSI: NY," CBS, 13.4 million viewers.

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