Continuing a run that's made it the undisputed breakout hit of the early summer season, last week's penultimate episode of ABC's Dancing with the Stars once again dominated the week's ratings, topping the television week's programming in nearly every key rating demographic.

Delivering the show's best numbers yet, Dancing with the Stars' fifth episode averaged 18.6 million viewers (an huge number for summer programming -- a CSI repeat was second with 13.3 million viewers, and only one of five programs break 10 million viewers) and a 5.6/17 rating/share in the Adults 18-49 demographic.

The ratings performance not only easily placed Dancing with the Stars as the top ranked program of the night in both viewers and young adults (a distinction that all five first-run broadcasts of the show have captured) but also ranked it as the night's number one program in virtually all key demographics -- including total viewers, Adults 25-54, Adults 18-49, Adults 18-34, Teens 12-17 and Kids 2-11.

Dancing with the Stars impressive performance also caused it to come out on top of most of the entire week's rankings, including total viewers, Adults 25-54, and Adults 18-49.

Excluding some of ABC Sports' broadcasts of the NBA Finals, Dancing with the Stars has dominated the television rankings for each of the last four weeks, ranking as the top ranked television program of the week in numerous rankings, including total viewers, Adults 25-54, and Adults 18-49.

With Dancing with the Stars having drawn 18.6 million viewers to its penultimate episode, tonight's season finale would appear to have an outside chance of breaking the season finale ratings performance of television's last big smash-hit summer reality talent competition show -- Fox's American Idol. After debuting to 9.9 million viewers in Summer 2002, the first season of American Idol grew its ratings strongly throughout the summer, climaxing with the 22.8 million viewers that it averaged during its September finale that had the added benefit of airing after the Labor Day holiday that traditionally marks the end of most summer programming.