ABC, NBC Lineups Rise But ‘American Idol’ Keeps Fox on Top Wednesday

'Modern Family' closes demo gap with music contest; 'Chicago P.D.' ties 'CSI' in 18-49

Chicago PD Ratings

As ratings came down some in the second week for Fox’s “American Idol,” the lineups on ABC and NBC seemed to pick up or reclaim lost viewers on Wednesday, with the Alphabet’s “Modern Family” the night’s top scripted program and NBC’s first-year drama “Chicago P.D.” looking good in its third week.

Fox still dominated its two hours with “American Idol,” even if it did lose about 15% of its premiere-night young-adult audience from one week earlier. (It was up slightly in the demo from its Thursday premiere of last week.)

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, the two-hour “American Idol” averaged a 4.0 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 and 13.2 million viewers overall — down 27% in the demo (from 5.5) and 16% in total viewers (from 15.8 million) from its second Wednesday of last year.

The 15% falloff from week 1 to week 2 is also greater than the 8% decline the show saw a year ago from Wednesday to Thursday (6.0 vs. 5.5). Despite the dropoff, the 4.0 rating will probably be good enough to make “Idol” the top-rated series of the week in 18-49 (CBS’ “Big Bang Theory” is in repeat tonight).

And it’s not like the other nets were able to improve their position relative to last year all that much, with ABC’s “Modern Family” and “Nashville” joining CBS’ “Criminal Minds” and “CSI” and CW’s “Arrow” in showing declines of 15% or more vs. the comparable night a year ago. (Some of these losses will be absorbed in DVR playback, but it’s clearly not just “Idol” that is down year-to-year.)

At ABC, “The Middle” looked pretty good leading off the night (2.2/7 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall), bouncing back from last week’s sluggish score (1.8) to match its top demo rating of the past two months. Also up two-tenths or more were “Suburgatory” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall), “Modern Family” (3.5/9 in 18-49, 9.7 million viewers overall) and “Super Fun Night” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall). Head-to-head at 9, “Modern Family” trimmed “American Idol’s” 18-49 advantage to 14% (4.0 to 3.5) after getting crushed by 59% a week ago in “Idol’s” season premiere (3.2 vs. 4.1).

Closing out the night, “Nashville” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall) was up a tick from last week but remained behind its drama rivals on CBS and NBC.

NBC’s entire drama lineup was up week to week, with “Revolution” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall) rising 15% (0.2) to match its highest demo rating since Oct. 2 and place third for its hour. “Law & Order: SVU” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall) shot up 29% (0.4) for its most competitive finish with “Criminal Minds” since premiere week. And at 10, “Chicago P.D.” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall) was up a tick to pull even with CBS’ “CSI” in 18-49 and become the first Big Four rookie drama this season to post a week-over-week 18-49 gain in either its second or third week.

In its first three weeks, “Chicago P.D.” has averaged a 1.7 same-night demo rating behind “SVU,” a big improvement from the 1.1 for the first three weeks of “Ironside” in the same timeslot situation last fall.

CBS opened the night a little softer than last week by going with special encores of “The Crazy Ones” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall) and “Mom” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall), and that may have contributed to the ABC comedy gains in the hour as well as the season-low deliveries from 9 to 11 p.m. for “Criminal Minds” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall) and “CSI” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 9.5 million viewers overall).

At CW, “Arrow” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall) and “The Tomorrow People” (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall) were about on par with last week.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 4.0/11; ABC, 2.0/5; NBC, 1.7/5; CBS, 1.6/4; CW, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 13.2 million; CBS, 8.0 million; ABC, 6.5 million; NBC, 6.1 million; CW, 1.9 million.