How the mighty has fallen -- Fox's American Idol, that is. For most of its history, the season finale of the talent contest has drawn more viewers than any regular weekly TV show, averaging around 30 million viewers. In 2003, the season finale peaked with 38.1 million. By last year it was down to 21.5 million. Last week, it counted just 14.3 million and was not even the most-watched show of the week, winding up in third place among total viewers, behind CBS's NCIS (18.8 million) and The Big Bang Theory (15.5 million). Among the nightly newscasts, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams remained far ahead of the pack with an average 7.5 million viewers. ABC World News with Diane Sawyer kept a respectable distance behind with 6.7 million viewers, while the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley continued to trail with 5.8 million. Overall, CBS finished the week with an average household rating of 5.1 and a 9 share. ABC followed with a 4.8/7. NBC and Fox tied for third with a 3.5/6.
The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:
1. NCIS, CBS, 11.8/20; 2. The Big Bang Theory (8:00 p.m.), CBS, 9.6/17; 3. Dancing With The Stars (Monday), ABC, 8.8/14; 4. American Idol (Thursday), Fox, 8.7/14; 5. NCIS: Los Angeles, CBS, 8.5/13; 6. Dancing with the Stars (Tuesday), ABC, 7.8/12; 7. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 7.5/13; 8. The Big Bang Theory (8:30 p.m.), CBS, 7.4/12; 8. Castle, ABC, 7.4/12; 10. The Voice, NBC, 6.9/11.