'Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior' dominates; Fox's 'Idol' rolls early

CBS is off to a good start in launching a third crime franchise, as the preem of “Criminal Minds” spinoff “Suspect Behavior” dominated Wednesday’s 10 o’clock hour.

Meanwhile, it was a partly cloudy second week for ABC comedy “Mr. Sunshine,” which saw a somewhat steep dropoff. It’s still too early to gauge the show’s long-term prospects, though, as unlike its premiere, Wednesday’s second seg went up against Fox’s “American Idol.”

The music talent show towered everything else on the night, but seemed impacted by the return of CBS’ “Survivor.” The unscripted island adventure series, meanwhile, opened to its lowest premiere score to date but CBS isn’t likely to fret over the still-healthy numbers it’s posting as it starts its 22nd season.

Looking at the Nielsens, “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior,” starring Forest Whitaker, averaged a 3.3 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 13.06 million viewers overall, building by a smidge over its lead-in from the original “Criminal Minds” (3.2/9, 12.85m) and logging the hour’s best 18-49 score for the net since “CSI: NY” a year ago.

It provided CBS with a hefty 57% improvement in 18-49 over its first-run, same-night average in the timeslot this season (mostly “The Defenders” and “Blue Bloods”); “Defenders” bowed to a 2.9/8 in the hour in September.

Among all drama premieres this season, “Suspect Behavior” comes in behind only CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0″ (3.9 rating in 18-49) and NBC’s “The Event” (3.6). And only a handful of episodes of any 10 p.m. drama have topped a 3 demo rating this season.”Suspect Behavior” isn’t expected to regularly build on its lead-in — the original will notch higher ratings when it doesn’t oppose “Idol” — but CBS would likely be happy if the newbie can perform similarly to second-year drama “NCIS: Los Angeles,” which retains about 80%-85% of its lead-in from that skein’s original version.

And if “Suspect Behavior” wins its hour on a consistent basis, it would give CBS a demo leadership position in the 10 o’clock hour of all five weeknights.

At 8, the premiere of “Survivor: Redemption Island” finished second in its slot (3.2/9 in 18-49, 11.16m), down nearly 30% in 18-49 from its year-ago debut (on Thursday and not opposite “Idol”) and the show’s lowest-rated opener to date.

“American Idol” (8.2/23, 23.20m) was down slightly from its one-hour score of last week. After opening with a sub-par 6.7/20 in the demo at 8 p.m. — more than doubling “Survivor,” but also clearly impacted by the Eye vet — “Idol” mushroomed to a 9.6/25 for its final half-hour.

From 8 to 10 p.m., “Idol” beat its combined ABC-CBS-NBC competition by 17% in 18-49 rating (8.2 vs. 7.0).

ABC’s comedy lineup was impacted by stronger competish at 8 (“Survivor” replacing “Live to Dance” at CBS) and 9 (“Idol” in for “Human Target” at Fox), with “The Middle” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 7.85m) and “Better With You” (1.8/5, 5.88m) both at season lows.

Standout 9 p.m. laffer “Modern Family,” featuring guest stars Shelley Long and Matt Dillon, was also down but still stood as the night’s top scripted program among young adults (4.3/12, 10.57m), leading into the second week of “Mr. Sunshine” (2.6/7, 6.93m), which placed third at 9:30. “Sunshine’s” 30% drop week-to-week (it didn’t face Fox’s “Idol” last week) was steeper than the established “Modern Family’s” 16% decline. And at 10, “Off the Map” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 4.33m) was down about 20% week to week for its lowest score to date.

NBC struggled with gameshow “Minute to Win It” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.64m) before picking up at 10 with “Law and Order: SVU” (2.2/7, 7.31m), which was down 15% from last week’s first-place 18-49 finish.

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