Last summer's Emmys averaged 16.2 million viewers. Last week's American Idol broadcasts averaged 30.1 million.
You don't need to do the math. Emmys organizers already did.
Idol executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick have been tapped to bring their talent for monster-sized ratings to the recently under-sized Emmy telecast.
The show, to air not-coincidentally on Idol's Fox home, is set for Sept. 16.
In the past 10 years, the TV-honoring Emmys has topped 20 million viewers only once. By comparison, Idol has topped 30 million viewers 10 times in the last five weeks.
Idol's latest triumph came Tuesday night when an estimated 29.4 million endured the often off-pitch performances of the competition's 12 male semifinalists.
Last week's shows were just as big or bigger. The Hollywood audition round, condensed into just one hour, was the most-watched prime-time show (31.2 million) in the latest Nielsen Media Research rankings. The semifinalist-selection episode was just behind it, with 28.9 million viewers.
Leaving nothing to chance, Idol will look to bolster Thursday's live-results show, the first of the season, with a performance and "special announcement" by season-three champ Fantasia Barrino.
Now if only Idol's producers can figure out how to get the show an Emmy at the Emmys...
In the meantime, here are some more ratings highlights from the TV week ended Sunday:
- Yes, ABC's Lost (23rd place, 12.8 million) lost to CBS' CSI: NY (15th place, 14.8 million). Again. But the former made up ground—it aired after a barely watched Lost repeat (88th place, 4.96 million), while the latter lost ground—it aired after the steady Criminal Minds (13th place, 15.2 million).
- NBC's ER (28th place, 11.6 million) performed a Lost-like feat, putting up decent numbers despite a lousy lead-in: 30 Rock (86th place, 5 million).
- A Grey's Anatomy cliffhanger (fourth place, 25.8 million) maintained the ABC drama's edge over CBS' CSI (fifth place, 22.7 million).
- Fox has renewed House (third place, 26 million) for a fourth season.
- Fox has renewed Bones (25th place, 12.3 million) for a third season.
- NBC has seen enough of Studio 60 (68th place, 6.4 million), which has seen enough of CBS' CSI: Miami (sixth place, 19.9 million).
- The Sunday struggles for NBC's Crossing Jordan (65th place, 7 million) soon will be over—it's being shipped to Wednesdays, starting March 4.
- Idol's Emmy nemesis, The Amazing Race (36th place, 10.3 million), did its thing in its 11th-season premiere.
- Some 7.4 million have been brought up-to-nuclear-date on CBS' Jericho via the recap show, Return to Jericho (60th place).
- The CW's Reba (107th place, 3.4 million for its first episode; 96th place, 4.4 million for its second episode) is done after six seasons.
- Fox's The O.C. (104th place, 3.7 million) will soon be over after four seasons.
- In cable, Fox News Channel's foray into intended comedy, The Half-Hour News Hour (1.5 million), was almost as big as Comedy Central's biggest Daily Show (1.6 million for a Thursday-night airing).
- USA's coverage of the Westminster Kennel Club finals (2.8 million) was no dog.
- The Daytona 500 (17.5 million on Fox Sports) was no NBA All-Star Game (4.8 million on TNT).
In the sweeps-week battle of the networks, CBS was most-watched by all viewers (12.3 million); Fox was tops among spry 18-to-49-year-olds.
Fox (12.2 million) placed second in viewers, followed by ABC (9.6 million) and NBC (8.6 million).
The CW (3.4 million) bragged about its Beauty and the Geek finale (98th place, 4.2 million), but held its tongue regarding Veronica Mars (123rd place, 2.4 million) and One Tree Hill (124th place, 2.3 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, 31.2 million viewers
2. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 28.9 million viewers
3. House, Fox, 26 million viewers
4. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 25.8 million viewers
5. CSI, CBS, 22.7 million viewers
6. CSI: Miami, CBS, 19.9 million viewers
7. Desperate Housewives, ABC, 18.5 million viewers
8. Daytona 500: Winner's Circle, Fox, 16.4 million
9. Survivor: Fiji, CBS, 16.08 million viewers
10. Deal or No Deal (Monday), NBC, 16.07 million viewers