‘Criminal Minds’ Surges As It Celebrates 200th Episode; ‘American Idol’ Rises, Tops Night

CBS drama draws largest total audience since May 2012

Criminal Minds

Fox’s shows on Monday and Tuesday may not have gotten any post-Super Bowl bounce, but “American Idol” appeared to on Wednesday, as it grew week over week despite facing increased competition. It and ABC’s “Modern Family” were the evening’s top programs in young adults, while “Criminal Minds” had a strong showing for a milestone episode and NBC’s “Chicago P.D.” again looked solid.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “American Idol” averaged a 3.9 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 and 13.3 million viewers overall — up a tick in the demo and adding about 600,000 total viewers from the previous week. This must be encouraging for Fox to see, since the music contest’s biggest competition (ABC’s “Modern Family” and CBS’ “Criminal Minds”) were in repeats a week ago. And last year, the show’s first week-over-week Wednesday gains didn’t come until April.

“Idol” won all four half-hours in 18-49, with “Modern Family” coming closest at 9 p.m. (3.9 to 3.5 for the comedy). Fox also won the night easily in adults 25-54 and total viewers.

Elsewhere, CBS followed a special “Criminal Minds” repeat (1.5/4 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall) with the show’s 200th episode (2.8/7 in 18-49, 12.8 million viewers overall), featuring the return of Paget Brewster. It was up 27% in 18-49 (0.6) from its most recent original to match its season high in the demo while drawing its largest overall audience since May 2012 (finishing close behind “Idol”). Closing out the night for CBS was “CSI” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 11.0 million viewers overall), which was up 25% in 18-49 (0.4) from its prior original and drew its second largest overall audience of the season.

At ABC, “The Middle” (2.2/7 in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall) was down a tick in the demo but up in total viewers vs. its prior original of two weeks ago for its second largest audience ever opposite an installment of Fox’s “American Idol.” The fifth-year comedy may be benefiting from an influx of younger viewers courtesy of reruns airing on ABC Family, as it surged from two weeks ago by 34% in viewers 2-17 (888,000 vs. 662,000).

“Suburgatory” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall) was up vs. last week when it followed a “Middle” repeat and drew its largest overall audience in about a year, while “Modern Family” (3.5/9 in 18-49, 10.0 million viewers overall) was up a tick from two weeks ago and was again Wednesday’s No. 1 scripted show in 18-49. “Super Fun Night” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall) was down slightly and continues to fumble away about half of “Modern’s” audience; “Mixology” takes its place on Feb. 26. And at 10 p.m., “Nashville” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) was down two tenths from last week even though it had a stronger lead-in; the difference may be the original “CSI,” which it didn’t face last week.

NBC opened with another Olympics special, “P & G: How to Raise an Olympian” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall), followed by “Law & Order: SVU” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall), which was down from last week (when it faced a “Criminal Minds” repeat) but on par with its last encounter with the CBS drama. And at 10 p.m., “Chicago P.D.” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall) matched last week’s demo score (1.7/5 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall), meaning it has now equaled or bested its previous week’s 18-49 delivery for three straight weeks.

CW’s “Arrow” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall) and “The Tomorrow People” (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall) were both down slightly from last week.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 3.9/11; CBS, 2.1/6; ABC, 1.9/5; NBC, 1.5/4; CW, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 13.3 million; CBS, 10.7 million; ABC, 6.7 million; NBC, 5.6 million; CW, 2.1 million.