idol karen eliminated 320 TV ratings: 'American Idol' falls but still rules Thursday, NCAA tournament down (at least on CBS)Fast National ratings for Thursday, March 17, 2011

“American Idol” led FOX to another win on Thursday night, but it was down a good amount from last week’s results show. Elsewhere, the first full night of the NCAA tournament was off for CBS — but with games also airing on three Turner cable channels, overall March Madness viewing was up over 2010.

FOX’s 15.5 million viewers and 9.0 rating/18 share in households completely dominated the night, leading by almost 10 million viewers over second-place ABC (5.8 million, 3.6/6). CBS took third with 4.75 million viewers and a 3.1/5, although those numbers will likely change when final numbers for its live sports coverage come in. NBC (3.8 million, 2.4/4) came in fourth, and The CW trailed with 1.4 million viewers and a 0.9/2.

FOX also ruled the adults 18-49 demographic with a 4.5 rating. ABC was the best of the rest at 1.7, followed by CBS, 1.6, and NBC, 1.5. The CW posted a 0.5 in the demo.

Thursday hour by hour:

8 p.m.

FOX: “American Idol” (19 million viewers, 11.0/19 households)
ABC: “Wipeout” (7.15 million, 3.9/7)
CBS: NCAA tournament (5.1 million, 3.3/6)
NBC: “Community” (4.2 million, 2.6/5)/”Perfect Couples” (2.9 million, 1.8/3)
The CW: “The Vampire Diaries” rerun (1.2 million, 0.8/1)

18-49 leader: “American Idol” (5.6)

9 p.m.

FOX: “Bones” (11.9 million, 7.1/12)
ABC: “Private Practice” (6.1 million, 4.1/7)
CBS: NCAA tournament (5 million, 3.2/5)
NBC: “The Office” rerun (3.7 million, 2.3/4)/”Parks and Recreation” (4.1 million, 2.5/4)
The CW: “Nikita” rerun (1.5 million, 1.0/2)

18-49 leader: “Bones” (3.4)

10 p.m.

CBS: NCAA tournament (4.15 million, 2.6/5)
ABC: “Off the Map” rerun (4.05 million, 2.6/5)
NBC: “30 Rock” (4.2 million, 2.7/5)/”Outsourced” (3.6 million, 2.4/4)

18-49 leader: “30 Rock” (1.7)

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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