Fox wins night, but 'Modern' hits series high

A trip to Hawaii paid off in a series-high demo score for ABC’s “Modern Family” on Wednesday, a night that Fox still won thanks to “American Idol.” Also looking good were CBS’ “Criminal Minds,” NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” and CW’s “Top Model.”

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, Fox’s “American Idol” was easily the night’s top-rated program (6.4 rating/17 share in adults 18-49, 19.1 million viewers overall), in line with the previous week and beating both ABC and CBS by 8 shares in the 18-49 demo. The net remained an also-ran in the opening hour, though, with a repeat of “Lie to Me” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall).

At ABC, “Modern Family” (4.2/11 in 18-49, 10.1 million viewers overall) achieved a series high in 18-49 and drew its largest overall audience since early January — before “American Idol” invaded the 9 p.m. timeslot. “Family,” in which the gang traveled to Hawaii for a birthday celebration, trailed “Idol” by 5 shares in adults 18-49 but pulled to within 2 shares in adults 18-34, and moved ahead of the reality show by a tick in men 18-34.

Also for the Alphabet, “The Middle” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 7.5 million viewers overall) was up a tick week to week to earn at least a share of the lead in most categories in its 8:30 p.m. timeslot. News wasn’t as promising later in the evening, as “Cougar Town” ran third at 9:30 p.m. (2.6/7 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall), losing nearly 40% of its “Modern Family” lead-in, and drama “Happy Town” was not compeititve at 10 p.m. (1.2/3 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall) — settling for less than half the demo score of competing dramas on NBC and CBS.

CBS saw “The New Adventures of Old Christine” edge up with its season finale (1.9/6 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall), and was followed a special off-night repeat of “The Big Bang Theory” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall). The net then moved to second place in most categories from 9 to 10 p.m. with “Criminal Minds” (3.4/9 in 18-49, 12.9 million viewers overall) and followed that up with “CSI: NY” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 11.4 million viewers overall), which ran second in 18-49 and first in 25-54 and total viewers.

At NBC, an original episode of “Minute to Win It” (2.2/7 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall) tied for the 18-49 lead at 8 o’clock with the net’s best delivery in the hour (excluding the Olympics) in five months. The Peacock then took a big step back at 9 p.m. with rookie drama “Mercy” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall) but bounced back nicely at 10 p.m. to win among young adults with “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2.8/8 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall).

CW’s two-hour “America’s Next Top Model” finale (1.7/5 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall) gave the net its best Wednesday in 14 months. In the series’ regular 8 o’clock hour, it led all networks in adults 18-34 (1.8/7).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 3.9/11; CBS, 2.6/8; ABC, 2.2/6; NBC, 2.0/6; CW, 1.7/5; Univision, 1.6/5.

In total viewers: Fox, 12.1 million; CBS, 10.4 million; NBC, 6.4 million; ABC, 6.0 million; Univision, 3.8 million; CW, 3.8 million.

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