‘American Idol,’ ‘Modern Family’ Hit Lows Wednesday

And they're both topped on the night in young adults by A&E's hot 'Duck Dynasty'

UPDATE: A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” did claim the top spot in the 18-49 program rankings for the night, as its 10 o’clock half-hour averaged a 3.7 rating and 8.5 million viewers overall. Its adults 18-34 score (3.2) matched the combined tallies for the dramas on ABC, CBS and NBC at the time, and in men 18-34 (3.6) it doubled the combined score of the Big Three.

Fox’s “American Idol” edged up in the nationals (3.2/9), meaning that it and ABC’s “Modern Family” tied as the top broadcast show of the night in the demo.

The NBA game on ESPN between Miami and Chicago did a 1.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 3.9 million viewers overall.

PREVIOUSLY: ABC’s “Modern Family” continues to trend down in the ratings this season, but it’s still one of primetime’s top series and on Wednesday it appeared to have finished ahead of “American Idol” in the night’s program rankings for the first time. Also of note Wednesday was a victory at 10 o’clock for NBC’s “Chicago Fire.”

It was a sluggish Wednesday overall at the Big Four, with just about every show but “Chicago Fire” down in the ratings from its most recent original episode.  Fox won the night with its two-hour “American Idol,” though it hit another Wednesday low.

A&E’s “Duck Dynasty,” with an episode titled “Ring Around the Redneck,” could emerge as the top-rated primetime program in adults 18-49 when nationals are released  Last week, “Duck” tied with “American Idol” as Wednesday’s No. 1 program with a 3.6 demo rating.

The NBA game between the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls on ESPN also likely kept some viewers away from watching entertainment series on Wednesday night. The contest, in which the Bulls snapped the Heat’s 27-game winning streak, earned a 3.0 overnight household rating, according to the sports cabler.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, Fox’s “American Idol” averaged a 3.1 rating/9 share in adults 18-49 and 12 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m. It was down more than 10% from last week for the show’s lowest Wednesday demo score to date.

ABC’s lineup, back in all originals for the first time in four weeks, returned sluggishly as “The Middle” hit a season low (1.8/6 in 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall. Following the season finale of “The Neighbors” at 8:30 p.m. (1.5/5 in 18-49, 5.5 million viewers overall), “Modern Family” built to a 3.2/9 in 18-49 and drew 9.0 million viewers overall — down 18% (0.7) from its most recent original of Feb. 27 and the show’s lowest same-night first-run score since a Thanksgiving Eve airing in its first season, 2009. On the plus side, it edged out “American Idol” as Wednesday’s top show in 18-49 — something that it has done often this season in full-week DVR playback but never in the same-night results. “Modern Family” and “American Idol” tied the last time the ABC comedy aired an original, on Feb. 27.

Following “Modern Family,” the final 9:30 p.m. airing of “Suburgatory” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall) was up from last week when it didn’t have an original “Modern Family” lead-in but logged a season low for a week when it did follow a fresh episode. And closing out the night was “Nashville” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall), which was down a tick from its most recent original episode and finished behind “Chicago Fire.”  The country music-themed drama, which has been more competitive with its timeslot rivals in DVR playback, was airing just its second original episode in the last six weeks, but will finish the rest of the season with mostly first-run episodes.

CBS opened with “Survivor” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall), which was down 8% (0.2) week to week to match its season (and series) low; it was down about 17% from the comparable night a year ago. From 9 to 11 p.m, the Eye aired repeats of “Criminal Minds” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall) and “CSI” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall).

At NBC, “Whitney” ended its season with original episodes at both 8 p.m. (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall) and 8:30 p.m. (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall), and is considered a long shot to return in the fall. From 9 to 11 p.m., the Peacock seemed to benefit from the CBS dramas being in repeats, as “Law & Order: SVU” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall) was up a tick week to week for its best demo score since Jan. 30, while “Chicago Fire” also edged up (1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall), beating both ABC’s original “Nashville” and the encore “CSI.”

At CW, “Arrow” was on the low side (0.8/3 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall), down 20% (0.2) from last week, but “Supernatural” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall) managed to match its week-ago 18-49 rating and built on its lead-in for the first time.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 3.1/9; ABC, 1.9/6; CBS, 1.7/5; NBC and Univision, 1.5/4; CW, 0.9/3.
In total viewers: Fox, 12.0 million; CBS, 7.3 million; ABC, 6.2 million; NBC, 5.5 million; Univision, 3.7 million; CW, 2.4 million.

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