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‘Modern Family,’ ‘Idol’ Top Night; ‘Chicago Fire’ Heats Up

NBC drama nearly catches 'CSI' finale in young adults Wednesday; ABC's 'Nashville' also up

While ABC’s “Modern Family” was on the rise from last week and ruled as Wednesday’s top show among young adults, Fox prevailed in demos for the night with “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” And in the closing hour, NBC’s “Chicago Fire” edged up to an 11-week high and finished in a near tie in adults 18-49 with the finale of CBS drama “CSI.”

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, the tightly contested 10 p.m. drama battle went to CBS’ “CSI” (2.0 rating/6 share in adults 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall); the vet won comfortably in adults 25-54 (2.9/7) and total viewers, but just edged past NBC’s hot “Chicago Fire” in 18-49 (1.9/5, 6.9 million viewers overall), with ABC’s “Nashville” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall) also rising from last week to stay in the hunt. “Chicago Fire” was the leader in 18-49 at 10:30 p.m. (2.0 to 1.9 for “CSI” and 1.6 for “Nashville”) as it was the only show to perform 18-49  gains in its second half-hour.

Chicago Fire” built on its “Law & Order: SVU” lead-in (1.5/4 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall), as the crime drama was down rather sharply from last week. “Dateline” kicked off the night for NBC (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall).

The results last night bode well for “Chicago Fire” as it moves to its new night, Tuesday, in the fall, where it should benefit from airing behind “The Voice” and could blossom into a real hit.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Fox dominated the night’s opening hour with “American Idol” (2.9/10 in 18-49, 11.6 million viewers overall), which matched its two-hour average of last week and was 16% better than last week’s showing from 8 to 9 (2.9 to 2.5). “Idol” was Wednesday’s most-watched program overall, but it is heading into its finale tonight considerably lower than last year — and will have to do battle with the finales of “The Big Bang Theory,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The Office.”

Following “Idol,” “So You Think You Can Dance” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 7.1 million viewers overall) held onto a good chunk of its lead-in and was up about 20% from its premiere score of Tuesday. It finished third in 18-49 and a close second to ABC in adults 18-34 (1.8/6 to 2.0/7).

At ABC, “The Middle” (1.9/7 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall) was up a tick from last week to place second in most categories, followed by lame-duck rookie “Family Tools” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall), which was flat. “Modern Family” (3.5/10 in 18-49, 9.7 million viewers overall) then basically tripled its lead-in to dominate its timeslot in adults 18-49 and also stand as Wednesday’s No. 1 program overall in the demo as well as adults 25-54 (4.3/11). “How to Live With Your Parents” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall), another first-year ABC comedy that failed to distinguish itself, was on par with last week at 9:30.

CBS opened with special back-to-back episodes of Monday half-hour “2 Broke Girls” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall at 8 and 1.1/4 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall at 8:30). “Criminal Minds” spiked from there at 9 (2.5/7 in 18-49, 10.3 million viewers overall), on par with last week in demos and up a bit in total viewers. At 10, the finale of “CSI” was down 9% from last week and off 17% in 18-49 from last year’s closer in the same hour (2.4).

CW saw average numbers for the season finales of rookie “Arrow” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall) and vet “Supernatural” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.4 million viewers overall). The latter will be moving to Tuesday nights in the fall.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 2.6/8; ABC, 2.0/6; CBS, 1.9/6; NBC, 1.6/5; Univision, 1.4/4; CW, 0.9/3.

In total viewers: Fox, 9.3 million; CBS, 7.9 million; ABC, 6.4 million; NBC, 6.3 million; Univision, 3.4 million; CW, 2.5 million.

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