'CSI' rebounds from low, thumps ABC Oscar special

Fox’s two-hour “American Idol” topped Wednesday’s ratings race, though the show dipped from last week, while ABC’s “Modern Family” edged up to nearly catch the reality vet as the night’s top series among young adults.

Also of note at 10 p.m., CBS’ “CSI” bounced back from its low and NBC’s “Chicago Fire” remained potent opposite ABC’s Katie Couric special on the Oscars.

Looking at the numbers, “American Idol” averaged a 4.1 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 and 14.2 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m., down 5% from last week and 11% lower than two weeks ago. Still, it ruled as Wednesday’s No. 1 program in 18-49, 25-54 (5.2/13), all key female demos as well as total viewers, in which it was up a bit from last week.

Second-place CBS saw “Survivor” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall) edge up from its Valentine’s Day Eve premiere of last week, which had come in down more than 20% from its year-ago opener. “Criminal Minds” was down from its most recent original at 9 (2.7/7 in 18-49, 10.7 million viewers overall), but “CSI” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 10.5 million viewers overall) bounced back from its series low of last week, taking advantage of the preemption for ABC’s “Nashville’s” to rise 21% week to week in 18-49; it also dominated as usual in total viewers.

ABC, whose opening hour seemed affected last week by the night’s low viewing levels on the eve of Valentine’s Day, saw gains for both “The Middle” (2.2/7 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall) and “The Neighbors” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall). “Modern Family” edged up as well at 9 (3.9/10 in 18-49, 10.6 million viewers overall), finishing within three ticks of “American Idol” in 18-49 and topping the music contest in some male demos.

“Suburgatory” was about average at 9:30 (2.0/5 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall), but the Katie Couric-hosted special “Mad About Oscar,” airing under the ABC News banner of “20/20,” settled for a 1.3/4 in 18-49 and 5.0 million viewers overall — down about 25% from “Nashville” a week ago.

At NBC, low-rated opening-hour comedies “Whitney” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall) and “Guys With Kids” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall) were followed by “Law & Order: SVU” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall), which grew 13% week to week to match its top 18-49 rating since Jan. 8 and finish in its closest competitive position this season with rival crime drama “Criminal Minds” on CBS.

And closing the night was “Chicago Fire” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall), which ranked second to “CSI” in the hour and matched its week-ago score. CW’s “Arrow” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall) and “Supernatural” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall) were down a bit week to week.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 4.1/11; CBS, 2.5/7; ABC, 2.1/6; Univision, 1.6/5; NBC, 1.5/4; CW, 0.9/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 14.2 million; CBS, 10.2 million; ABC, 6.8 million; NBC, 5.1 million; Univision, 3.9 million; CW, 2.7 million.

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