Modern Family

ABC's 'Nashville' closes rookie season on upswing; solid return for Fox's 'MasterChef'

ABC’s “Modern Family” emerged the leader in key demos on Wednesday, the final night of the television season, while a two-hour “Criminal Minds” performed well for CBS and won its timeslot. Despite facing “Minds,” rookie dramas “Nashville” on ABC and “Chicago Fire” on NBC had solid ends to their seasons, with the former hitting a four-month high.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, ABC tied with CBS for the Wednesday lead among adults 18-49, opening with “The Middle” (2.0/7 in 18-49, 7.5 million viewers overall), which wrapped its fourth season as the 8 p.m. leader in most categories, on par with last year’s finale in 18-49 and its most-watched season-ender overall since its rookie season. Following a special “Modern Family” repeat at 8:30 (1.6/5 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall), the fourth-season finale of “Modern” averaged a timeslot-leading 3.6 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 and 9.9 million viewers overall — on par with last week and down about 10% from last year. It was followed by “How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall), up from last week, and “Nashville” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall), with the first-year soap posting its best numbers since January and eking past NBC’s “Chicago Fire” in 18-49.

CBS, which won the night in adults 25-54 and total viewers, opened with special off-night encores of half-hours “Two and a Half Men” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall) and “Mike & Molly” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall). And from 9 to 11 p.m., the eighth-season finale of “Criminal Minds” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 10.8 million viewers overall) was up a tick from last week’s hourlong episode and won its time period in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers; it was down, though, from last year’s two-hour finale, which did a 3.6 in 18-49.

Fox hung in there with a pretty good premiere for “MasterChef” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall), which was down 9% in 18-49 from its hourlong opener of last summer (which benefited from airing behind “Hell’s Kitchen”) and up slightly in total viewers. Despite facing finales last night, it was a close second for its timeslot in adults 18-49 while leading the way in adults 18-34 (1.8/6).

At NBC, “Dateline” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall) matched its 18-49 high since taking over the 8 p.m. hour on April 3, and the net held at a 5 share with the finales of dramas “Law & Order: SVU” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall), up a tick from last week and down from last year’s finale at 10 p.m., and “Chicago Fire” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall), which was down from its above-average 2.0 of last week. “Fire” tied ABC’s “Nashville” in 18-49 for the 10:30 p.m. half-hour (1.8/5), with both lagging “Criminal Minds” (2.9/8).

CW aired 2009 theatrical “Love Happens” (0.3/1 in 18-49, 1.1 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC and CBS, 2.2/7; Fox, 2.1/7; NBC, 1.6/5; Univision, 1.3/4; CW, 0.3/1.

In total viewers: CBS, 9.0 million; ABC, 6.9 million; NBC, 6.3 million; Fox, 5.2 million; Univision, 3.2 million; CW, 1.1 million.

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