Fox's 'Idol' rolls; CW's 'Shedding' slim

After opening to impressive numbers one week earlier, CBS drama “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” declined by nearly 25% to finish in a timeslot demo draw Wednesday with NBC’s “Law and Order: SVU.” Fox won the night with a two-hour “American Idol.”

Also of note, ABC’s “Mr. Sunshine” continued to decline in its third week, and CW was barely on the radar with its new reality competition series “Shedding for the Wedding.”

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, Fox again made life difficult for the competition by airing a two-hour installment of “American Idol” (7.9 rating/21 share in adults 18-49, 22.6 million viewers overall), which was down slightly week to week. It peaked in its final half-hour, where its 8.5 rating in adults 18-49 beat the timeslot’s combined delivery of ABC, CBS and NBC by 27%.

Elsewhere, CBS saw both “Survivor” (3.3/9 in 18-49, 11.2 million viewers overall) and “Criminal Minds” (3.4/9 in 18-49, 13.4 million viewers overall) edge up week to week, but 10 p.m. newbie “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 9.9 million viewers overall) declined 24% and settled for an 18-49 tie with NBC’s “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall), which rose 11% week to week. “Suspect Behavior” still held sizable advantages over its crime drama rival in both adults 25-54 (3.4/9 to 2.7/7) and total viewers (9.9 million to 8.0 million).

Also for NBC, gameshow “Minute to Win It” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall) grew week to week but remained well behind its broadcast rivals form 8 to 10.

ABC was pretty much status quo in the night’s opening hour with “The Middle” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) and “Better With You” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall) but was down a couple of ticks from 9 to 10 p.m. with both “Modern Family” (4.1/11 in 18-49, 10.3 million viewers overall) and “Mr. Sunshine” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall); there’s a ray of light for “Sunshine,” though, as next week “Idol” scales back to 90 minutes, giving the 9:30 p.m. Matthew Perry laffer a chance to reclaim some of its lost audience. Also for the net, “Off the Map” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall) was up from its series low of the previous week, remaining third among the Big Three.

At CW, “America’s Next Top Model” kicked off its spring edition to lower than usual numbers (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.3 million viewers overall), no doubt impacted by facing a pair of reality heavyweights in “American Idol” and “Survivor.” It was followed by the low-rated debut of “Shedding for the Wedding” (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.2 million viewers overall), which at least outperformed the anemic entries the net bowed behind “Model” a year ago: “High Society” and “Fly Girls.” “Shedding” retained 64% of its “Model” lead-in among adults 18-34 (0.7 vs. 1.1)

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 7.9/21; CBS, 3.0/8; ABC, 2.3/6; NBC and Univision, 1.6/4; CW, 0.8/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 22.6 million; CBS, 11.5 million; ABC, 6.8 million; NBC, 5.4 million; Univision, 4.0 million; CW, 1.7 million.

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