Tuesday night fights: Bulls stumble on the court and in the ratings

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“Dancing” dominates broadcast channels in Chicago; “Idol” takes ratings hit

Tuesday was a rather competitive night for television both locally and nationally with the final two performing on American Idol and the season finale of Dancing With The Stars. But national viewers preferred the dancers and wannabe signers as opposed to Derrick Rose and LeBron James.

According to Phil Rosenthal’s Tower Ticker Blog, Game 4 of the Bulls-Heat series averaged a 22.6 household rating locally on TNT, up 0.4% from Game 3. However, Game 4’s ratings are down 7% from Game 1 and down 8% from Game 2.

The 22.6 is at least a small victory for the Bulls, given Game 4 was up against Idol; and the Dancing finale, the latter is regularly Chicago’s top-rated entertainment program. With the Bulls now down 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami (thanks to last night’s overtime loss), they may be hard-pressed to beat Game 1’s number (24.3) on Thursday night.

Dancing thrashed Idol locally to the tune of 16.4 to 11.3 in households. The victory comes as no surprise; Chicago continues to be one of Idol’s weakest markets, despite Mt. Prospect native Lee DeWyze’s victory last year and Wheeling native Haley Reinhart’s participation in this year’s show, making all the way to the top three (many Chicagoans still haven’t forgiven the show for the way local favorite Jennifer Hudson was eliminated in 2004.)

Nationally, the Bulls-Heat game drew 9.77 million viewers, compared to 21.42 million for Dancing; 20.6 million for Idol; and 11.8 million for Glee. Game 4’s ratings were its lowest yet in the series.

With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Hines Ward in the mix, Dancing’s finale drew more viewers than last May’s finale – thanks in part to the tons of Terrible Towel-waving fans who tuned in to see Ward win the Mirrorball Trophy over former Cheers star Kirstie Alley. In fact, the twelfth edition was the most-watched ever, with Tuesday’s finale topping Idol’s final performance show (however, Idol held a big edge in the adults 18-49 demo.)

Many critics and even a few fans are dismissing tonight’s Idol finale as a snoozefest. But with 20 million expected to tune in tonight, somehow much of the viewing public begs to differ.