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The Overnights: 'Idol' Ignites Fox, 'Engagement' Disappoints on CBS

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It’s repetitive, we know. But any evening with American Idol is a victory for Fox. Last night’s two-hour installment set in Hollywood scored a healthy 13.8 rating/21 share in the overnights from 8-10 p.m. In the distant No. 2 spot was CBS, with an 8.1/13 overall, followed by ABC (5.3/ 8), NBC (2.9/ 5) and The CW (1.8/ 3).
 
In time period premiere news, CBS sitcom Rules of Engagement was no better than recent 8:30 p.m. occupant $#*! My Dad Says, with a second-place 6.2/9 in the overnights at 8:30 p.m. Comparably, retention out of lead-in The Big Bang Theory (No. 2: 8.6/13 at 8 p.m.) was a disappointing 72 percent. Given the network just shut down production on veteran Two and a Half Men for the season (and might have to do so permanently), the more important question is how to fill the Monday 9 p.m. half-hour.
 
Also on CBS Thursday, of course, were older-skewing crime solvers CSI (#2: 7.8/12), which dipped to a season low, and The Mentalist (#1: 9.2/15). If CSI returns next season, and chances are it will, CBS may have to find another time period (perhaps flipping time periods with The Mentalist).  
 
Over at ABC, the network faces the same problem CBS does with its fading drama Grey's Anatomy. Although the show (at 9 p.m.) will finish a comfortable second among adults 18-49 behind American Idol at 9 p.m., a third-place 7.0/11 in the overnights at 9 p.m. is a shell of what it once was. Regardless, Grey’s still built out of lead-in Wipeout (No. 3: 3.8/6 at 8 p.m.) by a considerable 84 percent. At 10 p.m., three-year-old Private Practice finished second, with a 5.2/9. While that trailed The Mentalist by a hefty 43 percent in the overnights, its adult 18-49 disadvantage, if any, will be considerably smaller.  
 
Elsewhere, overnight results for NBC ranged from as low as a 2.0/3 for sure-to-be-axed Perfect Couples at 8:30 p.m. to a 4.2/6 for demo-friendly The Office at 9 p.m., which finished below average opposite American Idol. The CW capped off the evening with its highest rated series, The Vampire Diaries (No. 5: 2.1/3) and freshman action/adventure Nikita (No. 5: 1.5/2), which has a very different audience skew but is still likely to be renewed for next season.