‘Talent’ finale tops Wednesday ratings

'Jay Leno,' 'Glee' remain strong draws

NBC’s “The Jay Leno Show” remained strong Wednesday, topping its Tuesday totals thanks in part to a strong lead-in from the finale of “America’s Got Talent.”

Fox’s “Glee,” meanwhile, held up well in its second week but CW’s “The Beautiful Life” put up some pretty ugly numbers in its bow.

According to national estimates from Nielsen, NBC cruised to victory on the night behind the two-hour conclusion of “America’s Got Talent” (3.5 rating/10 share in adults 18-49, 15.79 million viewers overall), which peaked at more than 18 million viewers in its final half-hour. “Talent” was up 6% in 18-49 and 24% in total viewers vs. its year-ago finale, racking up the show’s largest audience ever.

NBC stayed on top at 10 p.m. with “The Jay Leno Show” (3.5/10 in 18-49, 13.36m), which benefited from its strongest lead-in yet. The comedy/talkshow built on its Tuesday 18-49 rating by 3% while logging the network’s best regular-series score in the time period in more than a year.

For the third straight night, “Leno” won the 10:30 p.m. half-hour in adults 25-54 (4.2/11), a demo of importance to the network affils’ late local newscasts. The competish gets much tougher next week, however, as new and returning 10 o’clock dramas bow on ABC and CBS.

At Fox, “So You Think You Can Dance” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall) was down 11% from its week-earlier premiere, likely impacted by reality competition on ABC and NBC that it won’t face once the fall lineups settle into place.

And “Glee” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 6.69m) dipped from its preem by just 9% in 18-49, placing second to “Talent,” and fell by a mere 3% in 18-34 (3.6/10 vs. 3.7/11), winning the 9 o’clock hour in this category and dominating among women 18-34 (5.1/14).

CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 2.79m) was down a tick in 18-49 vs. its two-hour premiere score while coming in within 10% of its averages in most other categories.

News wasn’t good at 9 p.m., though, for the series premiere of models drama “The Beautiful Life” (0.6/2, 1.38m).

Kicking off its 10th season, Spike’s “The Ultimate Fighter” was easily cable’s top program in demos on Wednesday (2.5/7 in 18-49, 4.11m). And in adults 18-34 (3.1/10) and men 18-34 (4.4/14), it was television’s No. 1 program in the 10 o’clock hour.

And Fox News had its best regular night of the calendar year, as both “O’Reilly Factor” (4.04 million viewers overall, 1.14 million adults 25-54) and “Hannity” (3.38 million, 1.15 million in 25-54) hit season highs in 25-54. In primetime, FNC’s demo delivery topped the total-viewer delivery of CNN and MSNBC combined.

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