WHAT WAS GOOD: Fox was the No. 1 network among the coveted 18-49 demographic once again, finding the correct mix of dramas and reality programming. Of course, "American Idol" remains TV's top draw, and "House" remains one of TV's highest-rated dramas. "Fringe," after a slow start, continued to grow its audience all season and become a solid performer, as did fellow newcomer "Lie To Me." "24" and "Bones" remain steady performers as well, and Fox does a decent business with animation Sundays.
WHAT WASN'T GOOD: As is its wont, Fox continues to produce cringe-worthy reality programming such as "Secret Millionaire." "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" couldn't survive despite "Terminator 4" being one of the most anticipated movies of the summer. Thanks to poor promotion, the network almost managed to kill off "Dollhouse," though it survived for another season.
OUTLOOK: There's no reason to think Fox will have any dropoff any time soon. "AI" will continue to remain the network's brightest star, but the programmers are putting in a better plan for its lineup next season to maximize ratings, such as splitting "AI" with "So You Think You Can Dance?" That means Fox won't be doing so much reshuffling midseason as it has done the past few years.
In addition, Fox's marketing campaign for "Glee," including a special airing of the pilot to build up anticipation for next year, has been brilliant. "Glee" should be the frontrunner for next season's best new show.
Overall, though I wasn't thrilled at the treatment "Dollhouse" got, it's hard to argue with Fox's success. GRADE: A-
THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: "Royal Pains" (USA, 10 p.m.) drew slightly better ratings than lead-in "Burn Notice" last week, meaning USA has a pretty good night of TV going. It's sad that both shows are better than most of what sister network NBC has on right now. Both shows are new tonight.
NBC offers the lone new network offering of the night with "The Listener" (NBC, 10 p.m.)
Generally, I don't promote reruns all that much, but tonight's "Supernatural" (CW, 9 p.m.) is an instant classic, in which the Winchesters square off against a shape-shifter who takes the form of the classic Universal Studios monsters from the 1940s. You can count on one hand the number of shows on the air that are as much fun as this.