Grammys pulled 17.6M viewers, 'Idol' 28.3M.

The pros on display during Wednesday's Grammy Awards telecast were no match for the amateurs competing on Fox's "American Idol."

CBS' live 8-11 PM Grammy Awards coverage averaged 17.6 million viewers and 7.3 rating/18 share in the adults 18-49 demographic in primetime, according to preliminary estimates from Nielsen Media Research.

The 8 PM edition of "Idol," by contrast, reeled in 28.3 million viewers and 11.3/28 in the key demo, which allowed Fox to claim the nightly victory in both viewers (20.5 million) and adults 18-49 (8.1/19).

Wednesday's Grammycast, which crowned veteran rockers U2 as kings of the music biz with five big wins, was off by more than 1 million viewers and nearly a full point in the demo derby compared to last year's telecast (18.8 million, 8.1/19), which aired on a Sunday opposite ABC's "Desperate Housewives."

Viewership of the Grammys, which featured a performance by the reclusive Sly Stone and a blockbuster opening number from Madonna, peaked in the 9-10 PM hour at 19.3 million viewers.

ABC's hot drama "Lost" (18.8 million, 7.6/17) felt the pinch of the extraordinary awards competition but remained within striking distance of the Grammys in the same time slot. Fox's "Bones" (12.7 million, 4.9/11), on the other hand, had a hard time holding on to "Idol's" coattails.

With "CSI: NY" benched for the night to make room for the Grammys, NBC's 10 PM mainstay "Law & Order" (14.6 million, 4.3/11) picked up some steam on what was otherwise a forgettable night for the network.

- Reuters