The return of "American Idol" struck ratings gold for Fox on Monday.

The return of "American Idol" struck ratings gold for Fox on Monday.

The third edition of the talent-contest franchise premiered to 28.2 million viewers overall and a whopping 12.5 rating in the benchmark demographic of 18- to 49-year-olds, making it the biggest show of the night and the biggest debut of any series on any network this season, according to preliminary numbers yesterday from Nielsen Media Research.

By comparison, the season premiere of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" on CBS this fall had been the most-watched debut of the season, with just under 27 million viewers. NBC's "Friends" had held the 18-to-49 record with an 11.8 rating.

"Idol" increased its audience about 13% from its first half-hour to the second.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print