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Tough Night for Broadcast Nets: Season Lows and Series Lows on CBS, ABC and NBC in Wednesday Ratings TVbytheNumbers

A number of shows sank to series lows and season lows on the broadcast networks Wednesday night, based on Nielsen overnight numbers. TVbytheNumbers.com reports that CBS’s “CSI,” ABC’s “The Middle,” “The Neighbors” and “Modern Family” and NBC’s “Chicago Fire” all either set or tied their low marks.

CBS won the night despite a poor performance by “CSI,” which was down 15% from its previous original episode on Nov. 28, sinking to a series-low 2.2 average rating in the key demo of adults 18-49. “Survivor: Philippines” was also down, slipping 3% from last week to a 2.8, while “Criminal Minds” climbed 3% to a 3.1.

Second-place Fox saw its two-hour “The X Factor” dip 7% from a week ago to a 2.6 average in the 18-49 demo.

ABC managed a third-place overall finish in prime time, even with its programs down across the board. “The Middle” scored a season-low 2.2 average in 18-49, off 4% from a week ago; “The Neighbors” delivered a series-low 1.6, falling 16%; and “Modern Family” equaled its season low with a 4.2, down 11% from its previous original on Nov. 28. “Barbara Walters Presents the 10 Most Fascinating People of 2012” failed to match last year’s broadcast, slipping 9% to a 2.1.

NBC’s “Whitney” was one of the few shows to improve, climbing 8% from a week ago to a 1.4 average in the 18-49 demo. But overall the network had a tough night, finishing a distant fifth for prime time. “Take It All” suffered without its lead-in from “The Voice,” plunging 50% from its Tuesday number to a 1.1, and “Chicago Fire” matched its series low with a 1.9, dropping 26% from last week.

For prime time overall, CBS came out on top with a 2.7 average rating in viewers 18-49, beating Fox (2.6 average), ABC (2.4), Univision (1.5) and NBC (1.2). CBS also won total viewers, averaging 10.5 million to 7.8 million for ABC, 7.7 million for Fox, 3.8 million for NBC and 3.6 million for Univision.