CBS Threatens To Unseat Fox As Top Rated TV Network -- Despite "Idol"

04/04/2009 05:12 am 05:12:01 | Updated May 25, 2011

Thanks to "American Idol," Fox is still beating up on rivals, at least among the young viewers that advertisers crave. But the punch isn't what it once was. And that means network TV is likely to be on the cusp of some major programming shifts as it mulls development for next season.

Through Sunday, Fox is leading the race for adults ages 18 to 49 with a 3.4 rating/ 9 share, according to data published Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. But it's hardly a comfortable edge: CBS lands in second place with a 3.2/8. And CBS is a clear No. 1 among total viewers, with an average of 11.8 million versus 9.3 million for second-place Fox.

This time last year, Fox was chewing up the competition with a 4.4 rating versus a 3.1 for runners-up NBC and ABC. Fox's young-adult ratings have tumbled 23% over the last year.

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