But neither reality vet takes advantage of competition

A pair of reality veterans — Fox’s “American Idol” and CBS’ “Survivor” — topped the ratings charts on the first Wednesday of March, but neither was able to take advantage of softer-than-usual competition on rival nets.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “American Idol” averaged a 3.7 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 12.7 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m., easily standing as the night’s top show and up from its special Tuesday outing of this week — but down a bit from last Wednesday for its fifth straight week of declining 18-49 numbers since it did a 5.5 rating on Jan. 30. It was also off more than 30% from the comparable night a year ago.

Fox won the night handily, with “Idol” standing as the No. 1 program in everything from kids and teens to male and female adult demos of all ages.

At CBS, “Survivor” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall) has held in the same range since its premiere last month, down a tick from last week and second to “American Idol” in the time period and the night; it was down about 20% in 18-49 from last year. From 9 to 11 p.m., the Eye went with repeats of “Criminal Minds” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall) and “CSI” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 7.1 million viewers overall), with the latter ruling as the top English-language broadcaster in the 10 o’clock hour.

ABC went with repeats of anchors “The Middle” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall) and “Modern Family” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall), sandwiched by an original “The Neighbors” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall), which matched its week-ago score despite the softer lead-in this time around. Closing out the night for the Alphabet were an original “Suburgatory” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall), which was down about 20% from last week when it had an original “Modern Family” as a lead-in, and a repeat “Nashville” at 10 (0.9/2 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall).

NBC’s “Whitney” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall) hit a five-week high but still lagged a repeat of “The Middle” on ABC. A “Whitney” repeat at 8:30 p.m. (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall) was then followed by encores of “Law & Order: SVU” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall) and “Chicago Fire” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall).

CW aired repeats of “Arrow” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.7 million viewers overall) and “Supernatural” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.1 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 3.7/10; CBS, 1.9/5; Univision, 1.8/5; ABC, 1.5/4; NBC, 1.1/3; CW, 0.4/1.

In total viewers: Fox, 12.7 million; CBS, 7.9 million; ABC, 4.8 million; Univision, 4.3 million; NBC, 3.8 million; CW, 1.4 million.

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