American Idol is barely even a competition at this early stage, yet viewers can’t get enough of all the future William Hungs trying out during the audition phase. According to Nielsen, Tuesday’s Idol was the week’s most watched show (28.1 million viewers), with Wednesday’s show right behind at No. 2 (26.6 million). Still, those numbers, along with a strong showing for The Simple Life 3 (No. 20, 13.3 million), were not enough to lift Fox higher than third place, averaging 10.4 million viewers in primetime.
Victory, as usual, belonged to CBS, whose highest-rated show was Thursday’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (No. 3, 21.8 million). Averaging 12.7 million viewers this week, CBS could boast of a new hit in Numb3rs (No. 11, 15.5 million) and its most-watched stand-alone Sunday movie in five years, The Magic of Ordinary Days (No. 5, 18.7 million). NBC, on the strength of hits old (ER, No. 4, 19.8 million) and new (Medium, No. 9, 15.8 million), finished second for the week with an average of 10.7 million viewers.
Airing a slate consisting largely of reruns, ABC finished fourth with just 9.4 million viewers, though its back-to-back Sunday repeats of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition both landed in the top 10. In the netlet race, the WB beat UPN, 3.6 million to 2.9 million.