Nellie Andreeva

The quiet before the storm. Not a whole lot happened last night ratings-wise as the networks are focusing on tonight’s return of Fox’s American Idol. CBS (3.2/9 in 18-49, 16.5 million) was once again the top network for the night, though it slipped a bit from last week’s big numbers. NCIS (4.1/11, 21 million) was down 9% in the demo, NCIS: LA (3.3/9, 17.3 million) was down 11%, and The Good Wife (2.1/6) was down 9% to tie its season low in 18-49. CBS won every hour in primetime in both total viewers and 18-49 (At 10 PM, The Good Wife was tied with NBC’s Parenthood in the demo.) With Parenthood (2.1/6, 5.6 million), and a two-hour Biggest Loser (2.9/8, 8.2 million), NBC finished second for the night with a 2.6/7 in 18-49 and 7.3 million. ABC rebounded from last Tuesday’s across-the-board series lows. No Ordinary Family (1.8/5) at 8 PM was up 20%, while V (2.0/5) at 9 PM climbed a tenth. AT 10 PM, the ABC News special The Congresswoman & The Astronaut (who comes up with those titles?!), about recovering Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband (1.3/4, 6.2 million), didn’t do much at 10 PM, up two tenths from the series low Detroit 1-8-7 posted in the hour last week. ABC finished tied with Fox for third place in 18-49 (1.7/5). Speaking of Fox, following a Glee repeat (1.4/4), game show Million Dollar Money Drop (1.9/5) was up 6% from last Tuesday.

The CW’s is finally returning to originals after a very long winter break. First off was the two-hour season/series finale of Life Unexpected (1.8 million viewers, 1.0/3 in 18-34). The closer of the sophomore drama didn’t make a very compelling case for renewal. It hit a season high in total viewers and was on par with its recent demo averages but its numbers may be adjusted a bit because of several preemptions.

Meanwhile, the ratings story on Tuesday shifts more and more to cable with hits The Game on BET, Tosh.0 on Comedy Central and, now, White Collar on USA.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.