American Idol Ratings Continue to Soar

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American Idol piled up more gargantuan ratings in its third week and helped make the Fox network medical drama House the most-watched scripted broadcast on U.S. television this season.

Tuesday's episode of American Idol, featuring auditions of pop star wannabes in Alabama, drew 33.7 million viewers, once again dominating the prime-time schedule and giving a hefty lead-in to House, Nielsen Media Research reported on Wednesday.

The hospital drama starring British actor Hugh Laurie as a cranky but brilliant physician averaged 27.3 million viewers, its largest audience in three years and the biggest for any scripted TV show on any network during the 2006-2007 broadcast season.

But American Idol, the smash hit talent competition that has produced several chart-topping recording stars since its launch in 2002, remains the principal ratings engine for the Fox network, a unit of News Corp. and the most watched show overall on American television.

Ratings should only increase, also, as we head to Hollywood and hopefuls such as Sundance Head, Jory Steinberg and Brandon Rogers have a chance to shine.

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