NBC's 'Fire' and 'Miss Universe,' ABC's Couric special up

Ratings for Fox’s “The X Factor” may have been down in its second season, but the music contest wrapped its run of Wednesday performance episodes with a victory last night — opposite admittedly lighter than usual competition.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, Wednesday’s two-hour “X Factor” averaged a 2.7 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and 8.3 million viewers overall. With an expected uptick in the nationals, it will have finished up a bit week to week in 18-49 and total viewers while down about 15% in the demo from last year.

On a positive note, “X Factor” retained 100% of its year-ago rating among its core audience of persons 12-34 (2.8). The show wraps its season tonight.

Elsewhere, NBC’s telecast of the “Miss Universe Pageant” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall) ran second to Fox from 8 to 10 p.m., rising 13% from last year when it aired on a Monday in September prior to the start of the TV season. In total viewers, the pageant grabbed its largest audience in four years.

The Peacock closed the night with an original episode of “Chicago Fire” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall), leading the broadcast nets in the 10 o’clock hour in all key categories; the rookie drama bounced back nicely from its season-low demo score of last week (1.4) when it had the soft gameshow “Take It All” as a lead-in.

ABC aired repeats of comedies “The Middle” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall), “The Neighbors” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall) and “Modern Family” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall), followed by special “20/20: The Year With Katie Couric” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall), which was up a bit in demos vs. last year when it aired on a Thursday.

CBS had a quiet night with annual adoption special “A Home For the Holidays with Rascal Flatts” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall), which was up a bit from last year, and repeat dramas “Criminal Minds” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall) and “CSI” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall).

CW aired a repeat of 2004 Susan Sarandon film “Noel” (0.3/1 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 2.7/8; NBC, 1.8/5; ABC and Univision, 1.5/4; CBS, 1.1/3; CW, 0.3/1.

In total viewers: Fox, 8.3 million; NBC, 6.3 million; ABC, 5.4 million; CBS, 4.1 million; Univision, 3.6 million; CW, 1.6 million.

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