Fox returnee, specials on ABC and NBC fail to click

“Survivor” and “Criminal Minds” helped CBS capture Wednesday in key demos on a night that saw ABC’s “Modern Family” remain the top show among young adults. Fox’s relaunch of “Human Target” didn’t do a whole lot, neither did specials on ABC and NBC.

According to preliminary nationals, CBS kicked off its winning night with “Survivor” (3.5/10 in 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall), and then placed first or second in various categories at 9 p.m. with “Criminal Minds” (3.7/10 in 18-49, 14.3 million viewers overall), with both shows rallying from their season lows of last week opposite ABC’s coverage of the CMA Awards. Up a tick at 10 p.m. to earn a share of the 18-49 lead was “The Defenders” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall), which remains in control of the hour in total viewers.

For the night, CBS led in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers.

Elsewhere, ABC’s comedy block continues to perform well, starting with “The Middle” (2.8/9 in 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall), which placed second in the broad categories of 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers while narrowly winning the 8 p.m. half-hour for the first time over “Survivor” among viewers under 35 (2.4 million vs. 2.3 million). It was followed by “Better With You” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall), “Modern Family” (4.7/13 in 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall) and “Cougar Town” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 7.1 million viewers overall), which were in line with their recent performances; for the night, the comedy block was up vs. the same night a year ago.

And at 10 for ABC, the special “25 Years of Sexy: People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall) ran third among the Big Three and wasn’t much of an improvement over struggling timeslot regular “The Whole Truth.”

Fox’s second-season debut of “Human Target” averaged a third-place 1.8 rating/5 share in adults 18-49 and 6.6 million viewers overall in the 8 o’clock hour, coming in below what “Hell’s Kitchen” has been delivering in the slot but at about the level one might expect given the show’s first-season performance; its finale last April earned a 1.9 demo score. At 9, “Hell’s Kitchen” placed third (2.6/7 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall), down from its showing of last week when it aired back-to-back episodes.

NBC opened with the “Dateline” special “William and Kate: A Love Story” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall), which despite its low score repped the net’s best showing in the timeslot since the second episode of “Undercovers” in late September. The Peacock was then up from 9 to 11 p.m. with “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall) and “Law and Order: Los Angeles” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 7.8 million viewers overall), with the latter earning a tie of the 18-49 lead.

At CW, “America’s Next Top Model” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall) was down vs. its recent average, and “Hellcats” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall) was flat vs. last week’s above-average delivery.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 3.0/9; ABC, 2.6/8; Fox, 2.2/6; NBC, 1.9/5; Univision, 1.6/5; CW, 1.0/3.

In total viewers: CBS, 11.9 million; NBC, 7.4 million; ABC, 7.3 million; Fox, 6.2 million; Univision, 3.9 million; CW, 2.3 million.

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