SUPER BOWL REIGNS SUPREME

Fox's American Idol may have attracted 33.65 million viewers last Tuesday and 31.5 million on Wednesday, but those two audience totals combined would not have come close to equaling the 93.18 million who tuned in for CBS's coverage of the Super Bowl on Sunday. CBS wouldn't have needed to place another show in the upper rankings of the Nielsen ratings list for the February sweeps week -- but it did. Besides pre- and post-game shows and the Sunday airing of Criminal Minds, the network also scored solidly with two editions (one, a repeat) of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Nos. 9 and 17), Shark (No. 11), CSI: Miami, (No. 13), Two and a Half Men (No. 16), and NCIS (No. 18). For the week, CBS wound up with a whopping 12.6 rating and a 20 share. Fox, its closest competitor, turned in a 6.7/10. NBC placed third with an average 5.3/8, while ABC trailed with a 4.9/8.

The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. Super Bowl XLI, CBS, 42.6/64; 2. Super Bowl XLI Post Game 1, CBS, 38.1/56; 3. Super Bowl XLI Post Game 2, CBS, 28.1/44; 4. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 18.6/28; 5. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 18.0/27; 6. House, Fox, 15.6/24; 7. Criminal Minds (Post Super Bowl), CBS, 15.1/26; 8. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 15.0/22; 9. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 13.5/20; 10. Deal or No Deal (Monday), NBC, 10.4/16.

NEWLY COUNTED COLLEGE KIDS GIVE SOME SHOWS BIG BOOST

Analysts pointed out that several shows last week got a boost as a result of college-age viewers being included in the Nielsen survey for the first time. As Washington Post TV writer Lisa de Moraes observed, "Previously, they got in on the Nielsen action only when they went home to do laundry at holidays." ABC's Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty, and What About Brian; NBC's Scrubs and The Office; Fox's Til Death; and CW's Gilmore Girls all saw huge leaps of 50 percent or more in their ratings for 18-49-year-olds. Scrubs, in fact, saw its ratings in that demo double.

IDOL BEATS LAST WEEK'S RESULTS

American Idol returned just as strong as ever Tuesday night, beating last Tuesday's ratings results. The Fox talent show drew a 19.3 rating and a 28 share (33.07 million viewers). House followed with a 15.7/23 (24.95 million viewers), holding 75 percent of the Idol audience. Somewhat surprisingly, CBS's NCIS continued to hold its own against the Fox blockbuster, posting a 10.3/15 (16.17 million viewers).

MISSED LOST? FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED ONLINE

In advance of tonight's (Wednesday) return of Lost to ABC's schedule, the network has posted an, er, "survivor" guide to the series on its website. The hour-long clip show, which can also be viewed on TV.Yahoo.com, is intended to brings fans -- or non-fans -- up to date on what has gone on in previous episodes. The ABC site is also streaming the first six episodes of Lost that aired at the beginning of this season before the series took a break 12 weeks ago. The network also moved the show to 10:00 p.m. presumably to avoid the competition from Fox's American Idol.

FORMER NPR HOST NAMED AFTRA PRESIDENT

Bob Edwards, the host of NPR's Morning Edition for some 25 years before he was fired in 2004 when the public radio network decided it wanted to take the program in "a new direction," will now be faced with taking the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists in a new direction as the union enters the age of digital broadcasting. Edwards was named on Tuesday to replace John Connolly as AFTRA president after Connolly stepped down to become national executive director of Actors' Equity. Edwards currently hosts an interview program on XM Satellite Radio.

U.K. NEWSPAPER SHOWS FOOTAGE OF FRIENDLY FIRE INCIDENT

A British newspaper, The Sun, has created a new furor over U.S. government secrecy by posting on its website a 15-minute cockpit video recording of a "friendly fire" incident that occurred during the 2003 invasion of Iraq in which a British convoy was fired upon by American A-10 attack jets, killing Lance Corporal Matty Hull. A coroner's inquest into Hull's death had been suspended after word of the cockpit video came to light. The Pentagon provided the video to British authorities but refused on security grounds to allow it to be shown at the inquest. After the Sun released the video, it was picked up by British television networks, whereupon the U.S. agreed to release it. An earlier U.S. investigation had concluded that the pilots "followed the procedures and processes for engaging targets." However, Tom Newton Dunn, defense editor of The Sun, ticked off six basic safety procedures that were broken by the pilots and insisted that the U.S. had kept the video secret to avoid legal action and embarrassment. The video ends with one of the pilots remarking, "I'm going to be sick." Another is later heard crying out, "I'm dead." State Department spokesman Sean McCormack commented late Tuesday that the pilots "immediately understood that this just was a terrible, terrible mistake and that they felt an immediate remorse for what happened."

Brian B.