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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 January, 2004, 08:48 GMT
American Idol scores with viewers
American Idol judges
Simon Cowell (centre) returns as one of American Idol's judges
The latest series of pop stardom show American Idol proved a big hit in the US when it notched up an impressive 28.2 million viewers on Monday night.

It was the biggest debut of any series on US TV this season, scoring particularly well among the highly sought after 18-49 age group.

Its success was a boost for the Fox network, which has been having a ratings slump with its new offerings.

It was their best Monday night since last year's Joe Millionaire finale.

American Idol, which features Simon Cowell as one of its judges, managed to increase its audience during the second half-hour by 13%.

The show's debut ranks as the second-highest rating entertainment programme behind a 15 January episode of long-running sitcom Friends.

Only sports broadcasts have managed to draw in more viewers on US TV so far this season.

'Obnoxious' debut

But two episodes of CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation have attracted a greater total of viewers, according to Fox.

The return of American Idol boosted the debut of another Fox reality series, My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance.

It averaged 21.4 million viewers to stake its claim as the second most-watched show of the night.

The new format centres on a bride-to-be attempting to see through an engagement and marriage to a unsuitable match, and walk away with a prize of $1 million (548,000).


SEE ALSO:
CBS triumphs in US ratings battle
24 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
Huge album sales for Idol's Aiken
11 Dec 03  |  Entertainment
Album hit for US Idol runner-up
23 Oct 03  |  Entertainment


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