'Criminal' earns solid results opposite 'Idol'

Fox ruled Wednesday as usual behind “American Idol,” but CBS saw a Super Bowl boost for its drama “Criminal Minds” and ABC’s “Lost” got off to a pretty good start in its later time period.

According to Nielsen nationals, the conclusion of a two-part “Criminal Minds” (4.7 rating/11 share in adults 18-49, 16.27 million viewers overall) delivered solid results opposite “American Idol” (12.0/27 in 18-49, 27.91m), more than 40% above its only other firstrun airing against the Fox juggernaut this season.

Even though the crime drama held on to less than half of the series-record demo aud it drew Sunday following the Super Bowl, showing was the best for a regular CBS Wednesday program to date opposite Fox’s “Idol.”

The net likely would consider its Super Bowl strategy a success if “Minds” can remain above a 4 rating in 18-49 in upcoming weeks. The second-year drama gives CBS a strong one-two punch against “Idol,” as “NCIS” has consistently been the best counterprogramming answer to the Fox megahit on Tuesday.

The Eye is also hopeful that the return of “Jericho” in the coming weeks can boost the lineup as a whole.

At 10 o’clock, the return of “Lost” (6.4/15 in 18-49, 14.49m) led easily in key demos over CBS’ “CSI: NY” (4.5/11 in 18-49, 14.97m) and NBC’s “Medium” (2.9/7, 8.15m).

“Lost,” airing for the first time since Nov. 8, drew its lowest ratings in seven episodes this season — and was down 17% from the same night a year ago — but it delivered the second best 18-49 score for a regular 10 o’clock drama this season (behind only the season premiere of NBC’s “ER”) and the highest 18-34 delivery (6.6/17).

“Lost” got a decent lead-in from itself with a special 9 o’clock recap spec, “Lost: Survivor Guide” (third-place 3.6/8 in 18-49, 8.84m). Beginning next week, first-year comedy “In Case of Emergency” will air before “Lost.”

ABC’s affils certainly will appreciate having “Lost” as a lead-in to their local news. Wednesday’s perf at 10:30 p.m. (6.5/16 in 18-49, 6.8/16 in 25-54) was the best for a regular Alphabet weeknight program leading into the 11 o’clock news since an edition of “20/20″ on the night of the “Spin City” series finale in May 2000.

Despite the increased competition, “CSI: NY” remained the hour’s leader in total viewers.

In the night’s opening hour, Fox drama “Bones” led the way (4.4/12 in 18-49, 12.57m), matching its hearty week-earlier score and again significantly outperforming its season average before “American Idol.” CBS was second in demos with a repeat of the post-Super Bowl episode of “Criminal Minds” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 9.80m).

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