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Fox Buries the Competition Behind Resurgent 'Idol'; Three ABC Series Hit All-Time Lows; NBC Settles for Fifth Place TVbytheNumbers

Wednesday night in the Nielsen overnights was a case of good news/bad news/mediocre news: good news for Fox, bad news for ABC and NBC and mediocre news for CBS.

The good news for Fox: Its two-hour “American Idol” was up, rising 7% from a week ago to a 4.8 average rating in the key 18-49 demo to give the network a huge win for the night, TVbytheNumbers.com reports.

CBS had reason to cheer as well, with its two-hour season finale of “Criminal Minds” pulling a 3.5 average in viewers 18-49, a hefty six-tenths of a ratings point higher than last week’s episode and a 6% improvement on last year’s one-hour season finale. However, with the first hour of prime time in repeats, CBS had to settle for a distant second place behind Fox for prime time overall.

ABC’s top show of the night, by far, was “Modern Family” with a 3.9 average rating in 18-49, but that was off significantly from last week’s 4.4 and marked a low for the season. Still, “Modern Family” fared better than other ABC programming, with “Suburgatory,” “Don’t Trust the B---- in Apt. 23” and “Revenge” all setting or equaling historic lows.

“Suburgatory’s” season finale managed only a 1.8 in viewers 18-49, falling off 14% from a week earlier and setting a series low; “Apt. 23” fell three-tenths of a ratings point from last week, equaling its series low with a 2.0; and “Revenge,” which also had a 2.0, also set a series low, slipping two-tenth’s from last week. “The Middle” held steady with a 1.9.

NBC had to settle for a non-competitive fifth place for the night behind Univision, with a fresh episode of “Law & Order: SVU” failing to resuscitate the network after a low-rated double-run of “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” and a repeat of “SVU.” The fresh “SVU” at 10 p.m. settled for a 1.7 in the 18-49 demo, down a tick from a 1.8 last week. Earlier in the night, the two “Off Their Rockers” installments mustered only a 1.4 and a 1.5.

When the dust settled it was Fox well ahead of the pack with a 4.8 average rating in 18-49 for prime time overall, followed by CBS (2.7 average), ABC (2.3), Univision (1.5) and NBC (1.3). Total viewers was another big win for Fox with 17.3 million to 10.4 million for CBS and 6.6 million for ABC. NBC managed to turn the tables on Univision, drawing 4.5 million total viewers to Univision’s 3.8 million.