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Not Much to Cheer About for the Broadcast Nets on a Night of Season Finales TVbytheNumbers

On a night of season finales, one show had its season premiere Wednesday night, and its numbers were down from a year ago, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that Fox’s “MasterChef” debuted with a 2.0 average in viewers 18-49, down 13% from its season premiere last year. The one-hour episode was followed by a second installment, which improved to a 2.2 average.

ABC’s three season finales had mixed results, with “Nashville” delivering a highlight: a 1.9 in the 18-49 demo, the series’ best number since Jan. 16 and a 12% improvement from a week ago. The finale of “Modern Family” was the top show of the night with a 3.6, although that number was down 12% from the year-ago finale, down 3% from last week and the show’s lowest-ever season finale.

ABC’s season finale of “The Middle” matched last year’s season finale with a 2.0 in 18-49, rising 5% from a week ago. Also on ABC, “How to Live With Your Parents” rose 10% from last week to a 2.2.

CBS’s two-hour season finale of “Criminal Minds” delivered a 2.7 average in adults 18-49, off 25% from last year’s season finale while rising 4% from a week ago. CBS filled out the prime-time schedule with repeats of “Two and a Half Men” (1.1) and “Mike & Molly” (1.2).

NBC aired two season finales, with “Law & Order: SVU” falling 20% from last year’s finale to a 1.6 average in 18-49, a 7% uptick from last week, while “Chicago Fire” lost 15% from a week ago for a 1.7. NBC opened prime time with “Dateline,” which rose 8% from a week ago to a 1.4.

Prime time overall was a virtual dead heat among three networks in the 18-49 demo, with CBS and ABC averaging 2.2 ratings and Fox keeping pace with a 2.1. NBC trailed with a 1.6 average. CBS won total viewers, averaging 9.0 million to ABC’s 6.9 million, NBC’s 6.3 million and Fox’s 5.2 million.