TV Viewers Take a Big Gulp of 'Idol'

04/02/2003 at 11:28 AM EST

By and large, American TV viewers preferred fierce competition between singers over war coverage in Iraq last week as FOX's "American Idol" rated as the most popular program.

Both Tuesday- and Wednesday-night editions of the talent search were seen by more than 19 million people, according to Nielsen Media Research. The new FOX comedy "Wanda at Large" also benefited, making a strong debut Wednesday when it premiered after "Idol."

Overall, NBC won the week's ratings crown, thanks to three separate "Law & Order" episodes that finished in the week's Top 10.

As for American's attitudes toward watching heavy news, CBS's "60 Minutes" and "60 Minutes II" finished 13th and 14th, respectively, last week -- behind the CBS special, "Celine in Las Vegas," which was No. 11.

For the week of March 24-30, the Top 10 shows were as follows:

1. "American Idol," Tuesday, FOX, 19.8 million viewers
2. "American Idol," Wednesday, FOX, 19 million
3. "Survivor: Amazon," CBS, 16.7 million
4. "Law & Order," NBC, 16.5 million
5. "Law & Order SVU," NBC, 15.8 million
6. "Friends," NBC, 15.6 million
7. "Fear Factor," NBC, 15.5 million
8. "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS, 15 million
9. "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," NBC, 14.6 million
10. "Wanda at Large," FOX, 14.3 million

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