American Idol Six: 37.3 Millions Fans and Counting

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Variety reports that American Idol opened to huge numbers last night, with the two-hour premiere ranking as the second highest-rated episode of the series to date - and easily topping any prime time program this season.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, the opening night of auditions on American Idol averaged a 15.7 rating/36 share in adults 18-49 and 37.3 million viewers overall, up about 5% vs. its premiere of one year ago.

The only other American Idol telecast to rate higher was the May 2003 season finale between Reuben Studdard and Clay Aiken.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.