Fox still rolls for the night behind 'American Idol'

Fox’s ”American Idol” continued to punish the competition on Wednesday night, sending top shows on the competition , ABC’s ”Modern Family” and CBS’ ”Survivor” , to season lows. ABC, meanwhile, saw a solid-enough bow for comedy ”Happy Endings.”

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, ”American Idol” averaged a big 7.1 rating/20 share in adults 18-49 and 22.4 million viewers overall from 8 to 9:30 p.m., peaking with an 8.0/21 in the demo in its final half-hour , which was a slightly higher score than the combined deliveries of ABC, CBS and NBC. Following ”Idol,” comedy ”Breaking In” (2.8/7 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall) declined about 20% from its solid premiere of last week, edging out the special premiere of ABC’s ”Happy Endings” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall) for second place in the timeslot. In something of a surprise, ”Happy Endings” beat out ”Breaking In” among adults 18-34 (2.5/7 vs. 2.1/6).

Encouraging for ABC was that was about 85% of the ”Happy Endings” audience at 9:30 p.m. stuck around for a second episode, in its regular 10 p.m. slot (2.3/6 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall). The Alphabet has really struggled in Wednesday’s closing hour, and ”Happy” gave the net its strongest 18-49 score in the 10 o’clock half-hour since the series premiere of ”Off the Map” on Jan. 12. Beginning next week, ”Cougar Town” returns to take on ”Breaking In” at 9:30, followed by ”Happy Endings” and a repeat ”Modern Family” at 10:30.

Earlier in the evening, ABC comedies ”The Middle” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall), ”Better With You” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall) and ”Modern Family” (3.8/10 in 18-49, 9.5 million viewers overall) hit season lows , perhaps paying the price for airing numerous repeats this spring. ”Modern Family” remained the night’s No. 1 scripted program in 18-49.

Also hitting a low Wednesday was CBS reality vet ”Survivor” (2.9/9 in 18-49, 10.8 million viewers overall), though it remained solidly in second place in the 8 o’clock hour. Down week to week but earning a second-place finish in most categories from 9 to 10 p.m. was ”Criminal Minds” (3.4/9 in 18-49, 13.3 million viewers overall) , the night’s top scripted program in total viewers. Looking a bit healthier for CBS at 10 p.m., thanks in large part to going up against a repeat of NBC’s ”Law and Order: SVU,” was ”Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 9.9 million viewers overall), which built 19% week to week; ”SVU” had won last week among adults 18-49 when both shows aired original episodes.

NBC had a quiet night with an original episode of gameshow ”Minute to Win It” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.7 million viewers overall) followed by a special repeat of ”Minute” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall) and an encore of 10 p.m. crime drama ”Law and Order: SVU” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall).

And CW saw ”Shedding for the Wedding” hit highs with its finale (0.6/1 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall), while ”America’s Next Top Model” was above its recent averages (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall) in kicking off the night.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 6.0/17; CBS, 3.0/8; ABC, 2.3/6; Univision, 1.3/4; NBC, 1.2/3; CW, 0.8/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 18.9 million; CBS, 11.3 million; ABC, 6.4 million; NBC, 4.0 million; Univision, 3.3 million; CW, 1.8 million.

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