Showdown predictably results in lower scores for both

With momentum on its side, NBC’s third night this week of “The Voice” bested Fox’s season premiere of “The X Factor” on Wednesday in a rare head-to-head battle of music talent shows.

“X Factor” surged when “Voice” left the air at 9 o’clock, and a strong second hour lifted the Fox show into a tie with the NBC program as the night’s top draw among young adults.There were really no winners, though: Both shows were negatively impacted my the match-up and probably lost a ratings point apiece.

They aren’t scheduled to go head-to-head regularly, but NBC, feeling it had the stronger hand to play, made a late decision to blunt the return of the “X Factor,” which was introducing new judges Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, by adding a third installment on Wednesday.

Last week, “X Factor” judge Simon Cowell stirred the pot on a conference call with reporters by calling NBC’s move a “spoiling tactic” and “meanspirited” and saying that the Peacock had broken “a kind of gentleman’s agreement” that the shows not go head to head.

Beginning next week, “The Voice” will contain to its normal Monday-Tuesday sked, while “X Factor” continues its regular Wednesday-Thursday sked.

Looking at the Wednesday estimates from Nielsen that include same-night DVR playback, NBC’s “The Voice” averaged a 3.4 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 and 10.89 million viewers overall in the 8 o’clock hour, down from the 4.2 demo score it opened with on Monday and its 4.0 on Tuesday. Head to head, it beat Fox’s “X Factor” by 17% in 18-49 rating (3.4 to 2.9) and by 42% in total viewers (10.89m to 7.72m).

For its two hours, the second-season premiere of “X Factor” averaged a 3.4/10 in 18-49 and 8.73 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m., down from last year’s 4.4 demo score for its premiere (opposite tough competish during premiere week) and 11% lower than the show’s same-night Wednesday average for all of last season (3.8).

The show spiked in its second hour, when its 3.9/11 in 18-49 put it ahead of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 11.05m). From 8 to 10, “X Factor” beat the combined NBC reality shows in 18-49 (3.4/10 vs. 3.2/9); the NBC combo led in total viewers (10.97m vs. 8.73m).

While “X Factor” and “The Voice” tied in 18-49 for the night, the NBC show prevailed among the women in the demo (4.4 to 4.1) while the Fox skein led among men (2.7 to 2.4). “X Factor” was the leader among the 12-34 crowd (3.0 to 2.8), and “Voice” in 25-54 (4.1 to 3.8).

NBC on Wednesday followed “America’s Got Talent” with a new episode of comedy “Guys With Kids” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.25m) and an encore of the pilot episode from another new comedy that recently bowed on the net, “The New Normal” (1.3/4, 3.81m). “Guys” will be paired with fellow rookie comedy “Animal Practice” in Wednesday’s 8 o’clock hour, with original episodes beginning Sept. 26.

Elsewhere, CBS’ “Big Brother” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 6.19m) and CW’s “Oh Sit” (0.4/1, 0.88m) held steady despite the three competing reality shows. All other broadcast shows aired in repeats.

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