Fox show up vs. last year; CBS solid

Fox’s “American Idol” continued its strong season by dominating again Wednesday night and outperforming the comparable night of a year ago. CBS ran a solid second thanks to gains for all three of its shows, led by “Criminal Minds.”

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, a 90-minute edition of “American Idol” in which the 12 female finalists performed averaged a strong 7.7 rating/22 share in adults 18-49 and 22.6 million viewers overall — up 3% in the demo and 9% in total viewers vs. its comparable evening of last season. And for the season, “Idol” is now tracking within 6% of last year’s 18-49 pace, according to Nielsen’s “most current” averages (8.7 vs. 9.3) and is off just 2% in total viewers (24.4 million vs. 24.9 million). Closing out the night for Fox was a special original episode of new Tuesday comedy “Traffic Light” (2.8/9 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall), which used its “Idol” lead-in to post series highs.

At CBS, “Survivor” (3.3/9 in 18-49, 11.3 million viewers overall) continues to perform well despite tough competition from “Idol,” rising week to week and placing second in the 8 o’clock hour. The Eye remained second at 9 o’clock as “Criminal Minds” (3.6/10 in 18-49, 14.3 million viewers overall) grew vs. last week as well and moved to the timeslot lead at 9:30 p.m. when “American Idol” wrapped. And at 10, “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” (2.6/8 in 18-49, 10.3 million viewers overall) was up some opposite a repeat of NBC’s “Law and Order: SVU” to win its hour across the board.

ABC’s comedies “The Middle” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall), “Better With You” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall) and “Modern Family” (4.1/11 in 18-49, 10.1 million viewers overall) were in line with last week’s performances, with “Modern” the night’s top-rated scripted program in adults 18-49. They were followed by newcomer “Mr. Sunshine” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall), which picked up only slightly despite not facing competition from Fox’s “Idol” for the first time in three weeks. And staying steady at its modest level was 10 p.m. rookie drama “Off the Map” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall).

NBC was barely a blip on the radar with its two-hour gameshow “Minute to Win It” (1.0/3 in 18-49., 3.4 million viewers overall), which has wilted opposite “American Idol.” It was followed by a repeat of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall).

At CW, both “America’s Next Top Model” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.0 million viewers overall) and “Shedding for the Wedding” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.1 million viewers overall) were down from their week-ago premieres.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 6.5/18; CBS, 3.2/9; ABC, 2.3/7; Univision, 1.4/4; NBC, 1.2/3; CW, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 18.8 million; CBS, 12.0 million; ABC, 6.9 million; NBC, 4.1 million; Univision, 3.7 million; CW, 1.6 million.

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