‘Idol,’ ‘Modern Family’ lead Wednesday

Fox's hit reality competition nabs 20 million viewers

Wednesday’s elimination round of “American Idol” drew 20 million viewers

Fox dominated a mostly low-key holiday-week Wednesday behind “American Idol” and rookie drama “Human Target,” which was on the rise, while ABC’s “Modern Family” continues to hold up nicely opposite the music megahit.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “American Idol” was easily the night’s top program, averaging a 6.5 rating/18 share in adults 18-49 and about 20 million viewers overall; despite declining roughly 10% week to week, it still beat the combined ABC-CBS-NBC competition in the hour among adults 18-49. Kicking off the night for Fox was “Human Target” (2.3/8 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall), which won its hour and rose 15% from last week when it faced special competition from CBS’ “Survivor.”

ABC, which edged NBC for second place on the night, was paced as usual by “Modern Family” (3.8/11 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall), which was up week to week and pulled to within 5 shares of “Idol” for the 9 o’clock lead in 18-49 and to within 3 shares in adults 18-34. “Modern” doubled its lead-in from “The Middle” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall), which was lower than usual and seemed to be affected by its special lead-in from “It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall). Wrapping the night for the Alphabet net was an average performance by “Cougar Town” at 9:30 p.m. (2.6/7 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall) and a slightly-below score for one of the final original episodes of “Ugly Betty” at 10 (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall).

NBC moved up to second place in Wednesday’s opening hour with a repeat of new gameshow “Minute to Win It” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall), in for struggling drama “Mercy.” And following a repeat of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” at 9 (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall), the original episode of “SVU” at 10 o’clock dominated its time period (2.9/8 in 18-49, 10.0 million viewers overall), though was down some from its season high of the previous week.

CBS aired repeats of “The New Adventures of Old Christine” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall), “Accidentally on Purpose” on its new night (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall), “Criminal Minds” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 7.9 million viewers overall) and “CSI: NY” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall).

CW was respectable as usual opening the night with “America’s Next Top Model” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall) but then faded away with new half-hours “Fly Girls” at 9 (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.2 million viewers overall) and “High Society” at 9:30 (0.3/1 in 18-49, 0.9 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 4.4/14; ABC, 2.1/6; NBC, 2.0/6; CBS, 1.6/5; Univision, 1.2/4; CW, 0.9/3.

In total viewers: Fox, 14.1 million; NBC 7.3 million; CBS, 6.6 million; ABC, 5.8 million; Univision, 3.3 million; CW, 2.1 million.

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