LOS ANGELES -- Fox's "American Idol" hit impressively high ratings notes in its third season premiere. The talent show drew 29 million viewers Monday, the best start for any series in the 2003-04 season, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research figures released yesterday by Fox.
Fox also enjoyed a solid debut for "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance," a reality series that debuted after "American Idol." The new series was watched by 19.6 million viewers, helping Fox win the night among all viewers as well as advertiser-coveted younger ones.
"American Idol," which has produced three instant music stars in Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, and Clay Aiken, was expected to provide a boost for the struggling network.
Gail Berman, Fox's entertainment president, recently called the show Fox's "engine." Last May's finale, in which Studdard narrowly beat out Aiken in nationwide voting, drew more than 38 million viewers.
Globe on NECNHere's what's happening on "Around the Globe" today: 12:30 p.m.: "Globe at Home" -- Snow-sports writer Tony Chamberlain and Al Fletcher of Nashoba Valley Ski Area talk about the New England ski season. 4 p.m.: "Around the Globe" 6:30 p.m.: "New England Business Day" 8 p.m.: "NewsNight" Schedule is subject to change.
12:15 p.m.: Celebrity chef Todd English will chat about restaurants, cooking, and the upcoming Boston Wine Festival.
Talk of the dial
9 a.m. WDIS-AM (1170) -- "Mornings with Evie." Guests: Dr. Steven Pratt, author, "Superfoods Rx"; John Stravinsky discusses the poker craze sweeping the country.
5 p.m. WBNW-AM (1120) -- "PM Magazine" with Lindsy Parker. Guests: Toby Smith discusses investment strategy; David Rourke discusses retirement; Andrea Bullard, executive coach.