Most series hit lows opposite awards show

Despite year-to-year declines, the Country Music Association Awards carried ABC to an easy victory on Wednesday — and its top-rated night of the season — while contributing to season lows for most of the evening’s competing series.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, ABC’s coverage of the three-hour “CMAs” averaged a 4.7 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 16.5 million viewers overall — down 11% year to year in the demo to what’s believed to be the lowest score to date for the awards show, which had aired for years on CBS before switching to the Alphabet in 2006. The kudocast held up better in total viewers, off just 4% vs. last year for the show’s second largest audience in five years.

ABC dominated the night, winning by a larger margin in 18-49 (74% over both CBS and Fox) than it did a year ago. The 4.7 rating in 18-49 was the best for ABC on any night of the season to date.

Elsewhere, CBS saw lows for “Survivor” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 11.3 million viewers overall), “Criminal Minds” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 12.4 million viewers overall) and “The Defenders” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall), each of which ranked second to ABC in their hour.

Fox welcomed back “Hell’s Kitchen” to lower than usual numbers (2.7/7 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall), placing third in both of its hours. And NBC’s drama block drooped lower as well, starting with the soon-to-be-gone “Undercovers” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) and concluding with the tandem of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall) and “Law and Order: Los Angeles” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall).

CW was one net that seemed to welcome the absence of ABC’s comedy block, which was preempted for the awards show and typically dominates the night among young women. The combo of “America’s Next Top Model” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall) and “Hellcats” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 1.9 million viewers overall) gave the net its best Wednesday showing since premiere night among women 18-34 (2.0/6).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 4.7/13; CBS, 2.7/8; Fox, 2.7/7; NBC and Univision, 1.6/5; CW, 1.1/3.

In total viewers: ABC, 16.5 million; CBS, 10.7 million; NBC, 6.4 million; Fox, 5.7 million; Univision, 4.0 million; CW, 2.3 million.

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