CMA Awards Bounce Back in the Ratings for ABC, Dominate Wednesday

Brad Paisley Country Music Awards
Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Kudocast draws its largest overall audience (16.6 million) since '09; Fox's 'X Factor' sputters

UPDATE: There weren’t many adjustments in the Nielsen nationals released late Thursday, as the “CMA Awards” on ABC held at its preliminary 4.7/13 in 18-49 while growing to 16.76 million total viewers — the show’s largest overall audience since the 2008 event drew 17.2 million.

CBS saw “Criminal Minds” lose a tick (2.3/6 in 18-49, 9.70m) and “CSI” gain one (1.8/5 in 18-49, 9.08m).

In cable, the top shows in 18-49 were FX’s “American Horror Story” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 3.80m) and Comedy Central’s “South Park” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 2.39m).


One year after falling to low as it shifted to a Thursday night, the Country Music Association Awards were back to their potent ratings form on Wednesday for ABC, dominating the night in all categories.

Back on its traditional night of Wednesday, the “47th Annual CMA Awards” averaged a 4.7 rating13 share in adults 18-49 and 16.6 million viewers overall from 8 to 11 p.m., according to Nielsen — its best 18-49 score in two years and its largest overall audience in four years. The show, co-hosted by Braid Paisley and Carrie Underwood and featuring appearances by some of the “Duck Dynasty” clan, was up 24% in 18-49 from last year’s record low (3.8/10) and was in line with both 2010 (4.7/13) and 2011 (4.8/13).

Last night’s “CMAs” rated higher than April’s telecast of the Academy of Country Music Awards on CBS, which surged to a 4.3 in 18-49 and 15.51 million total viewers to outperform the rival CMAs in the same TV season for the first time.

Compared to its most recent night with a regular Wednesday lineup of originals (Oct. 23), ABC was up 114% in 18-49 (from 2.2) and 137% in total viewers (from 7 million). The net won the opening Wednesday of a sweep (any month) for the first time since November 2007, and is the season’s Wednesday leader in 18-49.

Elsewhere, “The X Factor” continued its low-rated third season (1.5/4 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall) as it resumed its regular schedule with its first Wednesday installment in four weeks. Last night’s 1.5 was down more than 30% from its Oct. 9 episode (2.2) and matched what the show did with a special, two-hour episode on a Tuesday last week (up against NBC’s “The Voice” for an hour).

CBS ran second to the CMA Awards, with “Survivor” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall) edging up and “Criminal Minds” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall) and “CSI” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 8.9 million viewers overall) holding steady vs. last week when they opposed the World Series on Fox.

At CW, “Arrow” continued its solid second season (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall), up across the board, including a 50% surge in adults 18-34 to match its best score of the fall (0.9/3). Rookie 9 p.m. drama “The Tomorrow People” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall) matched its week-ago 18-49 delivery while rising in 18-34 and some other categories.

At NBC, “Revolution” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall) remained at its recent demo level while hitting a three-week high in total viewers. It was followed by “Law & Order: SVU” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall), which was up a bit from its most recent original, and a special “Dateline” at 10 p.m. (1.1/3 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 4.7/13; CBS, 2.2/6; Fox, 1.5/4; NBC, 1.3/4; Univision, 1.2/3; CW, 0.8/2; Telemundo, 0.5/1.

In total viewers: ABC, 16.6 million; CBS, 9.3 million; NBC, 5.1 million; Fox, 4.5 million; Univision, 3.2 million; CW, 2.2 million; Telemundo, 1.3 million.

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  1. MichaelZ says:

    That flushing sound you hear is Simon Cowell’s last ounce of dignity sliding down the pipe.

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