'People's Choice,' 'Chicago Fire' solid; Fox takes dive

ABC captured Wednesday’s ratings race in young adults behind the night’s top show, “Modern Family,” while NBC’s “Chicago Fire” continued to look good. On the specials side, CBS saw gains for the “People’s Choice Awards” but Fox was all wet with its celebrity diving event.

In latenight, meanwhile, ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” had a solid second night in its new 11:35 p.m. timeslot, gaining 22% from Tuesday in adults 18-49 (1.08 million vs. 887,000) and finishing in a virtual tie with NBC’s “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (1.09 million). CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” ran third (998,000).

In total viewers, Leno remained on top (3.55 million), followed by Letterman (3.04 million) and Kimmel (2.86 million). The ABC show was down 8% in overall audience from its timeslot premiere Tuesday.

For the second night in a row, “JKL” ranked No. 1 in New York, with its 1.47 rating in adults 18-49 more than the combined averages of “Tonight” (0.61) and “Late Show” (0.60).

Looking at preliminary primetime national estimates from Nielsen, the winter premieres of ABC’s Wednesday shows were all up from their most recent original, with “The Middle” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall) winning its timeslot and “The Neighbors” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall) tying for the 18-49 lead at 8:30. At 9, “Modern Family” (4.7/12 in 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall) once again stood as the night’s top show in 18-49 and also led in every other under-55 category as well as total viewers.

“Suburgatory” was a competitive second in its 9:30 p.m. slot (2.7/7 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall), and “Nashville” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall) placed third at 10 but matched its second best score to date.

CBS had a good night even without any of its regulars, starting with occasional hidden-camera series “I Get That a Lot” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 7.8 million viewers overall), which ran second in 18-49 and first in total viewers. And from 9 to 11, the “39th Annual People’s Choice Awards” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall) placed second in demos with its first hour before moving to the lead from 10 to 11 and won its block in total viewers as well; it was up 4% in 18-49 and 13% in 25-54 vs. last year’s show.

At NBC, things started slowly with comedies “Whitney” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall) and “Guys With Kids” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall), which were down from their results of last week opposite softer competition. Things picked up at 9 p.m., where “Law & Order: SVU” (2.1/5 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall) was just a tick off its demo season high of the previous week and, benefiting from the lack of crime drama competition on CBS, hit a one-year high in total viewers.

And closing out the night, “Chicago Fire” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall) was below its series high of last week but logged its second best rating yet; the last two weeks have produced the show’s top two scores with regular programming as its lead-in.

Fox’s two-hour special “Stars in Danger: The High Dive” averaged a 1.3/4 in 18-49 and 3.4 million viewers overall, placing fourth among the Big Four. The net figures to do much better next week when “American Idol” returns.

CW aired repeats of Wednesday regulars “Arrow” (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.7 million viewers overall) and “Supernatural” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.0 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 2.6/7; CBS, 2.4/6; NBC, 1.9/5; Univision, 1.8/5; Fox, 1.3/4; CW, 0.4/1.

In total viewers: CBS, 9.0 million; ABC, 7.6 million; NBC, 6.8 million; Univision, 4.2 million; Fox, 3.4 million; CW, 1.4 million.

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