`Idol,' `Lost,' `Martha' vie for your eyes

April 18, 2005|By Zap2it.com

The last night of the 2004-2005 television season just got a little more crowded.

It's been clear for some time that the season finales of Fox's highly rated American Idol and Lost, one of the new hits for ABC, would go head-to-head on May 25. Now CBS has joined the fray as well.

The network has scheduled its quickly assembled Martha Stewart movie, Martha: Behind Bars, for the 9 p.m. time slot on May 25. The film, in which Cybill Shepherd reprises the role of Stewart she played in a 2003 NBC movie, tracks the last few years of Stewart's life, including her five-month prison sentence that ended last month.

CBS' scheduling move makes an already busy final night of the season a little more hectic.

The movie's first hour will compete directly with the final hour of a two-hour finale of Lost and Idol, and its conclusion will air opposite the fourth-season finale of Alias on ABC.

Although the perception has been that other networks tend to stay out of the way of the Idol finale, that hasn't been the case the past two seasons.

CBS aired the Academy of Country Music Awards opposite the Fox series in 2003 and last year, while ABC has run season finales of My Wife and Kids and Bachelor specials against Idol. None of those efforts challenged Fox in the ratings, but they didn't fare all that badly either.

Last year's country music awards drew about 11.6 million viewers, while the one-hour My Wife and Kids finale averaged 7.8 million. (ABC is no doubt expecting bigger numbers for Lost.)

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