Fox's Fringe is back and ratings are up. For now

After two months on hiatus, Fox's sci-fi thriller series Fringe returned with new episodes and strong ratings on Tuesday night, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed column.

Exactly how strong is difficult to say, since Fox ran American Idol (22 million viewers, 7.8 preliminary adults 18-49 rating) eight minutes over into 9 p.m., muddying the numbers for both shows.

But premliminary ratings show that Fringe (12 million, 4.7) was up 15 percent from its last episode, though that gain will be reduced, if not erased, once the nationals roll in.

Even if Fringe is flat from February, however, that's still good news for the show. Often ratings drop after such an absence, especially for newer series. Plus, its Idol lead-in wasn't as strong this time, and it had to contend with Dancing With the Stars (14.3 million, 3.3) in the hour, the site reported.