Fireworks special on NBC tops night; PBS scores with its own

Fourth of July fireworks special were just about the only game in town Wednesday night, with NBC, CBS and PBS all offering up programs.

According to Nielsen, primetime television viewing was down a steep 21% vs. the previous Wednesday as viewers opted to spend the holiday away from home. Those who were in front of their sets tuned in primarily to NBC, which led in all categories as its Macy’s-sponsored holiday special took the night’s top two spots on the program rankings (including a rebroadcast).

For NBC, following encores of ”Off Their Rockers” (1.0 rating/4 share in adults 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall) and ”Up All Night” (0.6/3 in 18-49, 2.3 million viewers overall), ”Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular” averaged a 1.7/7 in 18-49 and 2.3 million viewers overall to stand as easily the night’s top-rated program; while it was down 19% from last year’s special, when the holiday fell on a Monday, it still stands as the second highest-rated in five years. Closing out the night, the net aired a quickie repeat of the new fireworks special at 10 (1.4/5 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall), also winning that hour in all under-55 categories and ranking second among all programs on the night in 18-49.

At CBS, the ”Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular” at 10 p.m. (0.8/3 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall) could not approach the demo ratings level of the repeat Macy’s special on NBC and came down 27% from last year. Earlier in the evening, the net aired repeats of ”Dogs in the City” (0.6/3 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall) and ”Criminal Minds” (0.7/3 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall).

PBS averaged 6.3 million viewers for its celebration, “A Capitol Fourth,” hosted by Tom Bergeron from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. It was the 32nd year for the event, which led its 8 to 9:30 p.m. time period; tune-in comparisons to previous years were not available late Thursday.

Univision placed second among the broadcasters on Wednesday with its regular lineup of originals, led by ”La Que No Podia Amar” (The One Who Couldn’t Love) at 10 p.m. (1.2/5 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall)

ABC went with reruns of ”The Middle” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall), ”Suburgatory” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 2.4 million viewers overall) and ”Modern Family” (0.9/4 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall for a pair of episodes), followed by an original of ”Final Witness” (0.7/3 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall), which ran fourth among the broadcast networks at 10.

And Fox aired four repeats of rookie comedy ”New Girl,” giving viewers a chance to catch up on the show that isn’t being shown on its regular night, Tuesday, this summer. All four episodes earned a 0.6 rating in 18-49, and they averaged 1.6 million viewers overall.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 1.3/5; Univision, 1.1/4; ABC and CBS, 0.7/3; Fox, 0.6/3; CW, 0.2/1.

In total viewers: NBC, 5.5 million; CBS, 4.4 million; ABC and Univision, 2.7 million; Fox, 1.6 million; CW, 0.7 million.

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