Fox dominated its two hours Wednesday with an expanded installment of ”American Idol,” while ABC’s ”The Middle” was on the rise kicking off the night and NBC’s ”Law and Order: SVU” was the top series at 10.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, ”American Idol” averaged a big 7.2 rating/19 share in adults 18-49 and 23.0 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m., beating its combined ABC-CBS-NBC competition by 3 shares in both adults 18-49 and 25-54. ”Idol,” which wraps its season next Wednesday, was up both week-to-week and year-to-year.

Elsewhere, ABC opened nicely with ”The Middle” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 7.7 million viewers overall), which matched its best demo score in the past 14 weeks and placed second to ”Idol.” Following a ”Middle” repeat at 8:30 p.m. (1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall), ”Modern Family” earned a 4.0/10 in 18-49 and 10.1 million viewers overall in the 9 o’clock half-hour , down a bit vs. last week , and ”Cougar Town” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall) also dropped opposite the longer-than-usual ”Idol.” Closing out the night were a pair of original episodes of ”Happy Endings” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall at 10 p.m. and 1.3/3 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall), down a bit week to week.

CBS, whose ”Survivor” wrapped last week, was weak to start the night with a ”Criminal Minds” repeat in its place (1.4/4 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall), followed by the season finale of the drama at 9 (3.3/8 in 18-49, 12.5 million viewers overall) , up vs. last year’s finale, which aired opposite the ”Idol” finale on Fox. At 10, the now-canceled ”Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” averaged a 2.0/5 in 18-49 and 8.4 million viewers overall).

NBC opened with episodes of ”Minute to Win It” at 8 (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall for an original) and 9 (0.9/2 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall) before surging to the broadcast lead at 10 p.m. with the season finale of ”Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall), which posted its best score since early February.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 7.2/19; ABC and CBS, 2.2/6; NBC, 1.6/4; Univision, 1.5/4; CW, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 23.0 million; CBS, 9.1 million; ABC, 6.0 million; NBC, 5.0 million; Univision, 3.4 million; CW, 1.5 million.