Reality Battle Intensifies, ABC Lineup Sags on Wednesday

Fox wins night in demos with 'American Idol'; dramas on NBC, CBS up from last week

American Idol ratings

Fox led Wednesday among young adults with “American Idol,” which was in line with last week opposite special competition from NBC’s “The Voice” and the season’s penultimate episode of “Survivor.” It was a sluggish night, meanwhile, for ABC as “Modern Family” and others hit lows and recent addition “Family Tools” may not stick around much longer after a rocky second outing.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, the three-net reality battle at 8 p.m. likely cut into the ratings for each. Head to head in the 8 o’clock hour, NBC’s “The Voice” won in 18-49 with a 2.7 rating, to a 2.5 for both “American Idol” and “Survivor.” The Eye vet, which wraps its 26th edition on Sunday, prevailed in adults 25-54 (3.4 to a 3.2 for “Voice” and “Idol”) while “Idol” edged out “Survivor” in total viewers (9.5 million to 9.3 million), with “The Voice” not far behind (8.7 million).

If it holds in the nationals, this will mark the first time “Survivor” has caught “Idol” in 18-49 in their common hour.

“Idol” averaged a 3.2 rating in 18-49 for its second hour, bringing its two-hour tally for the night to a 2.8/8 in the demo and 10.8 million viewers overall. It finishes its 12th season one week from tonight.

For CBS, “Survivor” (2.5/8 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall) was actually up a bit week to week, and was followed by “Criminal Minds” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 9.9 million viewers overall) and “CSI” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 9.7 million viewers overall), both of which also grew. “CSI” led at 10 p.m. in 18-49, 25-54 (2.9/7) and total viewers.

At ABC, “The Middle” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall) was down 10% from last week to tie its season low, and then net then plunged at 8:30 p.m. with “Family Tools” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall), which dropped 27% (0.4) from its already-weak premiere of last week; given that there are two weeks left in the May sweep (and season), ABC may be better off pulling “Tools” and going with “Modern Family” repeats. At 9 p.m. last night, “Modern Family” (3.1/9 in 18-49, 8.8 million viewers overall) surged from its lead-in and remained the night’s No. 1 show in 18-49, but this was its season low, off about 14% from last week.

Holding up better week to week was “How to Live With Your Parents…” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall), which was down just a tick. And at 10, “Nashville” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall) was also down a tick, ranking third among the dramas in most categories (though it eked past the others in adults 18-34). Though “Nashville” is a good DVR gainer and has a higher 18-49 season average than NBC’s already-renewed “Chicago Fire,” ABC hasn’t announced if the country music-set soap will be back in the fall — though it is expected to return.

Following “The Voice” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall), which gave NBC its best result in Wednesday’s leadoff hour since November, dramas “Law & Order: SVU” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall) and “Chicago Fire” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall) picked up steam from last week. “Chicago” continues to do a good job holding onto its audience throughout the telecast, as it edged up in its second half-hour while “CSI” and “Nashville” dipped.

And at CW, “Arrow” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall) was flat week to week as it wrapped its first season. Also holding steady was 9 p.m. vet “Supernatural” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall). Both shows will be returning in the fall.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 2.8/8; CBS, 2.4/7; NBC, 2.1/6; ABC, 1.9/5; Univision, 1.3/4; CW, 0.9/3.

In total viewers:  Fox, 10.8 million; CBS, 9.7 million; NBC, 7.5 million; ABC, 6.1 million; Univision, 3.3 million; CW, 2.3 million.