RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘American Idol’ & NCAA Tournament Dip, ‘Wife Swap’ Returns Strong, ‘Beauty & The Beast Rises, ‘Community’ & ’1600 Penn’ Hit Lows

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘American Idol’ & NCAA Tournament Dip, ‘Wife Swap’ Returns Strong, ‘Beauty & The Beast Rises, ‘Community’ & ’1600 Penn’ Hit Lows
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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘American Idol’ & NCAA Tournament Dip, ‘Wife Swap’ Returns Strong, ‘Beauty & The Beast …

After Wednesday’s Beatles performance show on Fox’s American Idol (2.8/9), last night saw another finalist eliminated and the contestant list trimmed to eight. The live one-hour results show slipped 7% from the fast nationals of the season’s first results showlast week, and Idol was down 10% from the 3.1 it garnered in final numbers for its March 14 show. Idol had a small viewership bump last night, up 1% to 11.7 million versus 11.6 million last week. A new Glee (2.0/5) followed Idol, finishing even with its March 14 show but seeing a 9% viewership rise in fast nationals (from 5.4 million viewers to 5.9 million). Fox won the night in total viewers and tied with ABC in adults 18-49.

Related: NCAA Tournament Hits Thursday 22-Year Ratings High

You know spring is here when the NCAA Tournament has begun. Thursday saw the first primetime games of the NCAA College Basketball Championships this year on CBS, which aired South Dakota State vs. Michigan and Akron vs. Virginia Commonwealth. In the 8-11 PM period, Nielsen fast nationals have the tournament getting a 1.6/5, a 6% slip from last year’s fast nationals of 1.7/5 on March 15. With the nature of live sports, the first game actually starting at 7 PM and the second game going almost to midnight, last night’s numbers are approximate at best. The tournament runs until April 8.

After Celebrity Wife Swap earlier this year, and last night a new seven-episode season of Wife Swap (1.7/5) debuted on ABC. The one-hour reality series was up a strong 42% from its last season premiere on April 2, 2010. However, the series was down 29% from the two-hour February 26 season debut of Celebrity Wife Swap. The top show among adults 18-49 last night, Grey’s Anatomy (2.9/8), rose 12% form last week’s series low. Back after a month, a new Scandal (2.7/8) was even with its last original February 21. Last night saw ABC’s top-rated Thursday with series programming since October 4, 2012.

Community (1.1/4) started NBC’s primetime last night. The show was tied with last week’s final numbers for a series low. Slotted in Parks And Recreation’s regular slot last night was a special new 1600 Penn (0.9/2). The struggling freshman comedy face-planted 44% down from Parks And Recreation’s result in the slot last week. That was followed by a repeat of The Office (0.9/2) and, in its regular time slot, another 1600 Penn (0.8/2). The White House-based show was down 20% from last week to hit a season low. The network ended the night with a Law & Order: SVU (1.1/3) encore.

Outrating NBC’s shows in the 8 PM hour, The CW’s The Vampire Diaries (1.2/4) was up 9% from last week’s show. More impressive is the 40% surge by Beauty And The Beast (07.2) from its March 14 show in the 9 PM slot.

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