Net wins night; 'Missing,' 'Community,' 'Awake' tumble

It will face tougher competition in the coming weeks, but Fox drama ”Touch” premiered impressively Thursday, winning its hour despite a low delivery for lead-in ”American Idol.” Meanwhile, NBC’s ”Community” and ABC’s ”Missing,” which looked pretty good last week, lost about a sizable chunk of their audience.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, ”Touch” averaged a strong 3.2 rating/9 share in adults 18-49 and 11.7 million viewers overall in the 9 o’clock hour, leading in all key categories and retaining 80% of its lead-in from the ”American Idol” results show (4.0/13 in 18-49, 15.0 million viewers overall), which was at a low but still the night’s No. 1 show as ”The Big Bang Theory” was preempted for basketball. ”Touch” was down from its preview episode two months ago (3.9/10 in 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall) but ”Idol” was much stronger on that night. The Kiefer Sutherland drama, which outperformed the net’s prior timeslot average this season by more than 30%, must brace for tougher competition down the road, as ”Grey’s Anatomy” aired a repeat last night and both ”Person of Interest” and ”The Office” were preempted.

NBC saw its comedy block take a slide from last week, led off by ”Community” (1.7/6 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall) and ”30 Rock” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall), both down more than 20%; still, ”Community” was the network’s No. 1 show on the night among young adults. NBC slid a second original episode of ”30 Rock” in at 9 (1.5/4 in 18-49, 3.4 million viewers overall) that fell well short of what ”The Office” did in the slot a week earlier. Also down, to timeslot lows, were ”Up All Night” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall) and ”Awake” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall), with the latter off 25% despite facing no firstrun drama competition on ABC or CBS.

At ABC, Ashley Judd drama ”Missing” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall) lost 20% of its week-ago preliminary number, tying NBC’s comedies in 18-49 and second to ”Idol” for its hour in women 25-54 and total viewers; it was down about 30% in 18-49 from an episode of ”Wipeout” a year ago. ”Missing” was followed by encores of ”Grey’s Anatomy” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) and ”Private Practice” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 3.4 million viewers overall).

Numbers for CBS were unreliable due to live sports action, but the net’s affiliates averaged a 2.3/7 in 18-49 and 6.7 million viewers overall in primetime. The Eye will also air games tonight and Saturday in primetime.

At CW, original episodes of ”The Vampire Diaries” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall) and ”The Secret Circle” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.7 million viewers overall) were either flat or up a bit vs. last week in all key categories. From 8 to 10 p.m., the net ran second to Fox among the English-language broadcasters in females 12-34.

Univision, with its original telenovelas, finished third on the night in 18-49 behind Fox and CBS.

Preliminary 18-49 averges for the night: Fox, 3.6/10; CBS, 2.3/7; Univision, 1.5/4; NBC, 1.4/4; ABC, 1.2/3; CW, 1.0/3.

In total viewers: Fox, 13.4 million; CBS, 6.7 million; ABC, 5.6 million; NBC and Univision, 3.8 million; CW, 2.2 million.

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