A Super Super Bowl, 'Idol' Give Fox a Triumphant Week

Puppies like this Westie gave non-watchers of the Super Bowl something to tune in, collecting a record audience for
Puppies like this Westie gave non-watchers of the Super Bowl something to tune in, collecting a record audience for "Puppy Bowl IV" on Animal Planet. (By David Holloway -- Animal Planet)
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By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A super-sized Super Bowl audience, "American Idol," three -- yes, three -- rounds of "House," and another wrist-slittingly depressing episode of "Moment of Truth" delivered to Fox its biggest week in the network's history, and the highest-rated week for any network in more than 11 years. The cloud to this silver lining: Other broadcasters posted some record lows.

Here's a look at the week's -- you know it's coming -- Giants and Patriots:


Super Bowl. An average of nearly 98 million people -- the biggest Super Bowl audience ever -- watched that little team from the town no one's heard of defeat Goliath at Super Bowl XLII.

"House." Two broadcasts of the doc drama landed in the weekly Top 10: Tuesday's post-"American Idol" episode, which clocked about 23 million viewers, and, of course, Sunday's post-Super Bowl episode in which Mira Sorvino has a hole drilled in her head (and who hasn't wanted to see that happen). That episode logged 29 million viewers, the show's biggest audience ever. And after five weeks, Fox's "House" reruns on Friday are now the No. 1 show that night.

"Lost." ABC spent the equivalent of the GNP of several small countries promoting the return of "Lost" to its lineup and wound up with an average of 16.1 million viewers, which had the Reporters Obsessed With "Lost" hyperventilating. That's about 90 percent of the size of the most recent "Grey's Anatomy" episode (17.7 million viewers) in the same time slot.

"Puppy Bowl IV." While the Giants-Patriots game was drawing record numbers on Fox, Animal Planet's "Puppy Bowl" was setting records, too. First, 8 million people sampled the canine "competition" marathon -- a "PB" record. And its initial telecast, on Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m., averaged more than 1 million viewers, the first time the pooch-cast has cracked the million mark.


"Carpoolers." Down 33 percent -- nearly 2 million viewers -- compared with its "According to Jim" lead-in on Tuesday. Let's recap, shall we? Nearly 2 million people considered "According to Jim" -- clearly the worst sitcom on TV -- to be less painful to watch than "Carpoolers."

Star Jones. "The Star Jones Report" debuted in August on CourtTV. By the time it was canceled on Friday, a short six months later, the network was called TruTV. The decision to pull Star's show was "due to the rebranding and programming refocus of the network," the net's general manager said in a memo. That is a TV industry euphemism for "her show averaged a puny 186,000 viewers and, by its final telecast, was down in the neighborhood of 85,000."

Paige Davis. Perky Paige is back on "Trading Spaces" but her initial ratings aren't perhaps what TLC had hoped. In her two telecasts as Vindicated Paige, the past two Saturday nights, she's averaged about 1.5 million viewers. This is better than the 750,000 to 1 million viewers the show reportedly had been doing without her in initial telecasts. It's just not anywhere near the 4 million viewers she could count on during her previous gig as the show's Virgil, bucking up hapless room renovators as they navigated the various circles of home-improvement hell.

The week's 10 most watched programs, in order, were: Fox's broadcast of Super Bowl XLII, post-Super Bowl blatherathon, post-Super Bowl "House," Tuesday and Wednesday "American Idol," Tuesday post-"Idol" "House" and Wednesday post-"Idol" "Moment of Truth"; ABC's season debut of "Lost" and pre-season-debut "Lost" clip job; and CBS's "NCIS" rerun.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company