'Idol,' premiere of 'The Following' help set pace

Fox, looking to kickstart its typical mid-season push, logged its second demo victory of the season last week behind the still-potent “American Idol” and a good premiere for drama “The Following.”

It helped that chief competitor CBS aired repeats on two of its biggest nights, but “Idol,” even in a somewhat diluted state these says, should be enough to keep Fox at or near the top in the weekly young-adult rankings for the second half of the season. The show placed its two editions atop the weekly rankings in adults 18-49.

Elsewhere, ABC said hello to reality cooking series “The Taste,” which opened decently, and goodbye to dramas “Private Practice” and “Last Resort,” which went out meekly despite a little bump at the end.

Overall, according to Nielsen estimates for the Jan. 21-27 frame, Fox cruised in adults 18-49 with a 2.7 rating/7 share, and was followed by CBS (1.8/5), ABC and NBC (1.7/5) and Univision (1.6/4). The Spanish-language net tied ABC and NBC for second in adults 18-34 (1.3/4).

Fox also led in adults 25-54 (3.0/7 to 2.5/6 for CBS) while CBS ruled as usual in total viewers (8.9 million to 7.1 million for Fox).

In its second week, “American Idol” dominated on both Wednesday (5.5/16.07m) and Thursday (5.2/14, 15.65m). The latter night retained most of its premiere-week aud, though it still won’t face originals of CBS’ top-rated laffers until this week.

Fox also has to be pleased with the bow of “The Following” (3.2/8, 10.42m), which stands as the season’s No. 2 drama premiere in 18-49 (behind NBC’s “Revolution”). The Kevin Bacon-fronted serial-killer drama held up very well in its second outing on Monday of the current week (3.3/8, 10.10m),

CBS, whose top-rated Tuesday and Thursday lineups aired in repeat, was led by Monday comedies “How I Met Your Mother” (3.7/10, 10.07m) and “2 Broke Girls” (3.7/9, 11.56m).

Also strong was Wednesday’s “Criminal Minds” (3.1/8, 11.84m), which nearly caught ABC’s comedy hour in 18-49. And lead-out “CSI,” with Chris Evert and Lindsay Davenport guest-starring in a storyline involving tennis, hit a season high (2.6/7, 11.46m).

ABC was paced by a lower-than-usual “Modern Family” (4.2/11, 10.83m) and “Grey’s Anatomy” (3.0/8, 9.01m) and saw an OK preem on Tuesday for “The Taste” (2.1/5, 5.82m). And it was modest exits for vet “Private Practice” (1.5/4, 5.32m) and rookie “Last Resort” (1.2/3, 5.48m).

NBC was led on the series side by “The Biggest Loser” (2.4/6, 6.11m) and “The Office” (2.0/5, 4.19m), and its telecast of the NFL Pro Bowl on Sunday (4.0/10, 12.16m) ranked fourth among all programs for the week.

Among newbies, neither Monday drama “Deception” (1.3/3, 3.61m) nor Thursday comedy “1600 Penn” (1.3/3, 3.28m), is doing much. And rookie Tuesday comedies “Go On” (1.3/3, 3.97m) and “The New Normal” (1.2/3, 3.28m) are struggling without “The Voice” as a lead-in.

CW had one of its best weeks in a while, led as usual by “The Vampire Diaries” (1.3/4, 2.71m) but also seeing improved scores for others including “Emily Owens, M.D.,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Nikita.”

Univision was led by “Amores Verdaderos” (True Love), whose five weeknight airings averaged a 2.2/6 in 18-49 and 5.03 million viewers in total.

Of note at Telemundo, novela “Pablo Escobar: El Patron del Mal” wrapped its season Thursday with the net’s second-best finale scores for any series (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.32m). In both New York and Miami, it was the night’s No. 1 program on any net in 18-49.

The top cable programs among adults 18-49 were Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” (2.0/6, 4.09m) and Discovery’s “Gold Rush” (1.7/5, 4.55m), while History’s “Pawn Stars” was tops in total viewers (4.67 million). Among others looking good were truTV’s “Lizard Lick Towing” (series-best 2.9 million viewers) and ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” (1.2/3, 2.68m), which led all of television Monday among femmes 12-34 (3.9/12).

Showtime’s “Shameless” drew its largest-ever same-night aud (2.53 million for two airings). And the final-season bow of Starz’ “Spartacus” drew 930,000 for its Friday preem and about twice that for its three airings on the night.

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