Simon Cowell is officially an American success story.
The blunt Brit dominated the colonists in the TV week ended Sunday thanks to big performances from American Idol and American Inventor.
On Tuesday, Cowell and his biting commentary were front and center on Idol as the unstoppable Fox show hit an all-time high in viewers for the night with 32.8 million (first place), per Nielsen Media Research.
On Wednesday, Cowell and Idol were back at the top (28.1 million, second place) as Melissa McGhee, who'd flubbed the lyrics on Stevie Wonder's "Lately," became the first finalist from the Top 12 to be dismissed.
On Thursday, Cowell's cruel touch was evident in the two-hour premiere of ABC's American Inventor (13th place, 14.1 million), a new reality show showcasing Americans who want to become rich and famous not by singing, but by selling "arm shades." ("You've invented sleeves," one judge observed of the would-be innovation.)
"The critics absolutely loathed this show," Cowell, an American Inventor executive producer, said on Friday's Larry King Live. "...I mean I got a taste of my own medicine this time...[But] it was the number one show on a Thursday night, so the audience seemed to like it."
Inventor dealt another blow to CBS' Survivor: Panama--Exile Island, which slipped to 18th place (12.7 million) for an episode recapping all the episodes nobody watched the first time around.
In all, Cowell's contributions to prime time totaled four-and-a-half hours--five-and-a-half hours if the Larry King Live interview counts, which given the following exchange, it probably shouldn't:
Larry King: "Is it [American Inventor] on yet?"
Simon Cowell: "Yes, it went on last night."
Larry King: "Oh, just last night."
Simon Cowell: "Yes, yes."
Elsewhere:"It" show, ABC's Grey's Anatomy (third place, 21.1 million) is thy name. CBS' upstart The Unit (fifth place, 18.1 million) is too testosterone-y to be "It," but it is looking like a hit. NBC's Deal or No Deal (ninth place, 15.5 million for Monday's installment; 20th place, 12.2 million for Friday's) is too Howie Mandel to be "It," but it's far better than nothing (read: Joey). Fox's The Loop (16th place, 13.7 million) is a smash! (Note: When it airs after American Idol on Wednesday.) Fox's The Loop (100th place, 4.8 million) is a lonely little show. (Note: When it airs after That '70s Show on Thursday.) ER (14th place, 14 million) is a super senior citizen for NBC. Among key young adult viewers, the aged medical drama was the week's seventh most popular show. Joey's Tuesday experiment was short-lived--NBC has decided it would rather get beaten in the 8 p.m., Tuesday time slot with the clip job Most Outrageous TV Moments (88th place, 5.1 million for the first half-hour episode). Unlike Joey, TV Moments managed to top the Univision novella Contra Viento y Merea (93rd place, 4.9 million). The CW is now being referred to as CW, no "the"--not that any of this will be of concern to, say, the WB's Living with Fran (134th place, 2.1 million). Comedy Central says The Daily Show's audience has grown by about 100,000 viewers since Jon Stewart helped the Oscars' shrink by about 3 million viewers. HBO's The Sopranos is still the kingpin--and cable's most watched show (9.2 million).
Overall, CBS, without CSI (it was preempted by college basketball), but with five other Top 10 shows, won the week in total viewers, averaging 12.2 million viewers. Idol-powered Fox won the week in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic.
ABC, which didn't have much to brag about on four of seven nights, ran third in both races (9.4 million); NBC ran fourth (9 million).
Here's a look at the 10 most watched prime-time shows for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research:
1. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 32.8 million viewers
2. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 28.1 million viewers
3. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 21.1 million viewers
4. CSI: Miami, CBS, 19 million viewers
5. The Unit, CBS, 18.1 million viewers
6. NCIS, CBS, 17.5 million viewers
7. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 17.4 million viewers
8. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, ABC, 16.2 million viewers
9. Deal or No Deal (Monday), NBC, 15.5 million viewers
10. 60 Minutes, CBS, 15.2 million viewers