Armed with its "American Idol" wrap-up, Fox won the final week of the TV season -- its first weekly win since "Idol 3" debuted in January.
Here's a look at the week's Fantasias and Dianas:
"American Idol." Last year nearly 35 million viewers watched the two-hour final broadcast of "Idol," which Fox broke out as two one-hour programs so it could boast about how the second hour, with its 38 million viewers, was the second-highest-rated entertainment program in Fox history. This year, Fox cut up its "Idol" finale marathon into a half-hour show and a 90-minute show, but this new math resulted in an average of 31 million viewers for the second program, with a drop of about 20 percent among the 18-to-49-year-olds Fox covets. Explaining the decline, Fox noted that this year's finale aired one week later and, therefore, closer to Memorial Day, the official start of the summer, when viewing levels plummet. Too bad about that amendment to the Constitution that forced the network to extend the show's run by a week -- you know, the Corporate Greed Amendment. In spite of all this phonusbalonus, there's no denying the "Idol" wrap was the third-most-watched entertainment telecast of the TV season, behind the "Friends" finale and the Academy Awards. And over its entire run, "American Idol 3" is the season's most-watched series -- up about 16 percent compared with "AI2."
"Two and a Half Men." The CBS sitcom's first-season finale actually beat the lead-in "Everybody Loves Raymond" season-wrapper among 18-to-49-year-olds, leaving CBS suits feeling much better about losing "Raymond" after next season.
ABC's Thursday. Want to know how to get those elusive 18-to-34-year-olds to watch your Thursday lineup after the official end of the TV season? That's easy -- porn. ABC, which couldn't get arrested on Thursdays all season, bagged its first 18-to-34-year-old win on the night in four years thanks to Diane Sawyer's report on HIV in the porn industry. "Primetime Thursday" was the night's No. 1-ranked show in the demographic, beating reruns of "CSI," "ER," "Will & Grace" and even "Friends." And when you package Di on porn with the Jerry Bruckheimer flick "Coyote Ugly," about a girl who becomes a dancer/sex kitten at a chick-run NYC bar that specializes in tantalizing male patrons: ratings magic.
NASCAR [phone company] Cup: [soda company] 600. Fox recaptured Sunday night with its coverage of this NASCAR race. Not only did the telecast win the night among viewers, 18-49ers, teenagers and virtually every male age bracket that any network has ever even thought about targeting, the broadcast also was up compared with last year's performance.
Stanley Cup. Tampa Bay at Calgary clocked fewer than 2 million viewers Saturday night, by far the smallest Stanley Cup number since it migrated from cable to the broadcast networks in the mid-'90s. NBC shrewdly has cut a deal to take the NHL away from ABC starting next year.
"The Restaurant." If you open a restaurant in Manhattan for the sake of filming a reality series about its internal workings and nobody sees the show, does the eatery exist? The second edition of this rare Mark Burnett non-hit was averaging crowds only in the mid-6-million, low-7-million range during the May sweeps when NBC wisely yanked it; two more episodes burned off last Saturday copped an even worse 3.4 million and 3.9 million viewers.
"Superstar USA." Compared with its debut a week earlier, WB's attempt to recapture the magic of "American Idol" auditions-from-hell episodes fumbled nearly 30 percent of its audience.
"[Soft-drink company] Smash." Sometimes product placement is not a good thing, like when the show on which your product name is splashed becomes the least-watched program on all of broadcast TV that week.
The week's 10 most watched programs, in order, were: Fox's Wednesday and Tuesday "American Idol"; CBS's "CSI: Miami," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Two and a Half Men," "CSI" and "Without a Trace"; Fox's "24"; NBC's "Law & Order"; and CBS's "Still Standing."