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In the ratings, 'Dancing' foxtrots past 'Idol'

By Lisa de Moraes
Thursday, April 22, 2010; C06

Once again, ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" has pasodobled past Fox's "American Idol" in the ratings.

Monday's 90-minute "Dancing" episode, featuring America's Most Put Upon Mother Kate Gosselin performing her final walk -- this time an alleged foxtrot, to "The Breakfast Club" tune "Don't You (Forget About Me)" while dressed as Princess Aurora from "Sleeping Beauty" -- averaged 21.1 million viewers.

Meanwhile, Tuesday's one-hour performance episode of "Idol," in which show host Ryan Seacrest's ego took the night off, freeing up more time for the Idolettes to take turns singing inspirational songs, attracted 19.7 million people to their screens, according to Nielsen.

Even so, the show ran three minutes too long, annoying those who had DVR'd it, though they only missed all the blah, blah, blahing that followed the final performance of the night (and the best of this season) in which Crystal Bowersox sang "People Get Ready."

The overrun created much more of a problem for fans of the show that followed, "Glee." That series ran four minutes long, so DVR viewers missed the final music number of the all-things-Madonna episode.

Fox's only hope of beating Monday's "Dancing" this week was Wednesday night's "Idol" results night, which is also this season's "Idol Gives Back" celebrity-studded charity fundraiser broadcast. Except that the last time Fox aired an "Idol Gives Back" -- in April of '08 -- the celebrity-strewn episode actually scored a smaller than usual crowd for the "Idol" franchise, 17.8 million viewers.

Wednesday afternoon, "Idol" host Seacrest was trying to gin up interest in the fundraiser with tweet teases about rehearsals: "At idol stage . . . black eyed peas rehearsing this second for tonight . . . what 'til u see what fergie is wearing," he told his 3-million-ish Twitter followers.

This week marks the third time in five weeks the performance night of "Dancing" has attracted a larger crowd than the performance night on "Idol."

It may also be the last because, sadly, "Dancing" ratings magnet Gosselin was finally felled this week by the professional judges' low, low scores for her performances ("Dancing" eliminates a celebrity per week based on a combination of the judges' scores and viewer voting).

"It is who I am," Gosselin said in her exit interview of the determination that brought her back to the competition every week to kvetch and moan at her professional dancing partner, Tony Dovolani.

"Whatever is worthy of my time, I give my all. And I did, even though maybe sometimes it didn't come across."

'How to Make It' renews

In a tepid endorsement, HBO announced on Wednesday it had picked up a second season of its comedy series "How to Make It in America," which follows two enterprising 20-somethings as they hustle their way through New York.

We say "tepid" because the second-season pickup did not happen until two weeks after the show had wrapped its first season. Such reserve is unusual for the impetuous HBO, which last week announced it had picked up a second season of its New Orleans-based drama series "Treme" after telecasting the premiere episode. And in September 2008, HBO picked up a second season of vampire drama "True Blood" after just two episodes had been telecast.

Balloon Boy, once again

In what we hope is the final chapter of the Balloon Boy story, Richard and Mayumi Heene have agreed to pay around $36,000 to authorities who got caught up in the hoax the couple perpetrated when they reported their young son had floated away on a homemade weather balloon when in fact he was safely at home.

Back in November, the Heenes pleaded guilty to staging the hoax, about three weeks after Mayumi told investigators she and her husband lied to authorities and knew their son Falcon was not in the balloon but safely stashed away at their home in Fort Collins, Colo.

A judge had warned the parents they were going to have to cough up some serious coin to help cover costs of the various agencies that had deployed people to "rescue" Falcon.

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