Madoff TV Miniseries ABC
Courtesy of ABC

Fox won the first Wednesday of February in young adults behind its unscripted tandem of “American Idol” and “Hell’s Kitchen,” while ABC pre-empted its comedy block and saw modest demo numbers but a fairly good total-viewer turnout for the first part of its two-night original movie “Madoff.” NBC controlled the night’s final two hours in demos with “Law & Order: SVU” and “Chicago PD.”

At ABC, “Madoff” averaged a 1.2/4 in 18-49 and 7.0 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m., placing fourth during its time period in the demo but first in total viewers. The movie starring Richard Dreyfuss and Blythe Danner, which concludes tonight, held steady throughout in key demos, delivering the same 1.2 rating in 18-49 in all four half-hours and notching a 1.7 in 25-54 in three of four half-hours. One week earlier, repeats of the network’s 8-10 p.m. comedies fared a bit better in 18-49 (1.3) but lighter in total viewers (4.7 million).

Closing out the night for the Alphabet, “American Crime” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall) lost a tenth for a fourth straight week following the solid-enough 1.2 rating for its premiere, placing third among the major networks at 10. In “live plus-3,” last week’s episode of the drama saw the biggest percentage gains among Wednesday broadcast series, rising 62% in 18-49 rating (0.90 to 1.46) and 49% in total viewers (3.63 million to 5.40 million) vs. its same-day averages.

Fox was led as usual by “American Idol” (2.3/8 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall), though it was down 0.2 from last week for the show’s lowest Wednesday rating of the season; it was the night’s top-rated program in all key demos as well as total viewers. And in its second week on Wednesdays, “Hell’s Kitchen” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) was up a tenth from last week and placed second in 18-49 for its hour.

CBS opened the night with second-place finishes for “2 Broke Girls” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall) and “Mike & Molly” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall), which were on par with last week and thus unable to take advantage of a lack of comedy competition at ABC. The comedies were followed by a repeat of “Criminal Minds” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall), which matched ABC’s firstrun “Madoff” in 18-49, and “Code Black” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall), which was down just a tick from last week when it enjoyed an original lead-in.

NBC’s drama lineup was back in firstruns after airing repeats last week, with “The Mysteries of Laura” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall) down slightly and “Law & Order: SVU” up a tick (first-place 1.8/6 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall) from their prior originals. At 10 p.m., “Chicago PD” (1.7/6 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall) bounced back 13% (0.2) from its first-run season low of two weeks ago to easily win its hour in demos while also prevailing in total viewers. The cop drama has won in 18-49 over its regular competition every week since November 2014.

At CW, “Arrow” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall) matched its season low for an original, but “Supernatural” held steady (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.9 million viewers overall).

Of note on cable Wednesday was a No. 1 finish among the news networks for CNN’s New Hampshire Democratic Town Hall. From 9 to 11 p.m., the network averaged 871,000 adults 25-54 to beat the combined totals in the time period of Fox News Channel (486,000) and MSNBC (243,000). And in total viewers, CNN’s 2.72 million put it ahead of FNC (2.33 million) and well ahead of MSNBC (984,000).

Though good numbers, CNN wasn’t able to quite replicate last month’s numbers for an Iowa Democratic Candidates Town Hall (3.2 million viewers, including 944,000 adults 25-54), which remains the most-watched primary candidates’ cable news event (excluding debates) on record.

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