'Survivor,' 'SVU' bring in solid numbers

Fox’s “American Idol” towered over everything on the final Wednesday of March, but it was a night on which the nets spread the wealth. A special off-night installment of CBS’ “Survivor” easily led the opening hour, and NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” surged to season highs in dominating at 10.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, the “American Idol” results show grew week to week, posting a 7.1 rating/19 share in adults 18-49 while drawing 21 million viewers overall and beating out the combined 18-49 delivery for ABC, CBS and NBC in the 9 o’clock hour (7.1 to 6.7). Going the other direction for Fox was first-year drama “Human Target” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall), which slipped to third in 18-49 one week after winning the hour opposite softer competition.

CBS started the night a winner with “Survivor” (3.3/11 in 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall), which was airing on the night due to the net’s college basketball tournament coverage on Thursday. The net then fell off the rest of the way with encores of “Criminal Minds” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall) and “CSI: NY” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall).

At NBC, “Mercy” continues to struggle kicking off Wednesday (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall), and a repeat of “Law & Order: SVU” kept the net out of the competitive mix at 9 (1.5/4 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall). But the Peacock rallied at 10 p.m. as the firstrun episode of “Law & Order: SVU” hit a season high (3.3/9 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall), gaining half a ratings point week to week.

ABC was about average with its lineup of a “Modern Family” repeat (1.8/6 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall) followed by original episodes of rookie comedies “The Middle” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall), “Modern Family” (3.6/10 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall) and “Cougar Town” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall), with the 9 p.m. “Modern Family” standing as the night’s top-rated scripted program in adults 18-49 for its sixth consecutive firstrun airing. And at 10, “Ugly Betty” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall) picked up a bit of steam as it approaches its series finale.

At CW, “America’s Next Top Model” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall) fell off from its season opener of the previous week, leading into awful numbers for alternative series “Fly Girls” (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.2 million viewers overall) and “High Society” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 0.9 million viewers overall) from 9 to 10.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 4.5/13; CBS, 2.4/7; ABC, 2.3/7; NBC, 2.0/6′ Univision, 1.3/4; CW, 0.9/3.

In total viewers: Fox, 13.9 million; CBS, 8.9 million; NBC, 7.2 million; ABC, 6.3 million; Univision, 3.2 million; CW, 2.1 million.

Show Network Rating (18-49) Share Viewers (millions)
1. American Idol FOX 7.1 19 21.0
2. Modern Family ABC 3.6 10 9.1
3. Survivor CBS 3.3 11 10.9
4. Law and Order: SVU NBC 3.3 9 10.4
5. Cougar Town ABC 2.6 7 6.3
6. The Middle ABC 2.4 7 7.2
7. Criminal Minds CBS 2.1 6 8.3
8. Human Target FOX 2.0 6 6.8
9. Modern Family ABC 1.8 6 5.9
10. CSI: NY CBS 1.7 5 7.6

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