Fox Crushes the Competition With Rock-Solid 'Idol' as NBC's Olympics Programming Falls Flat TVbytheNumbers

Fox rolled to a big win over its broadcast competition in Wednesday prime time, as its two-hour "American Idol" distanced itself from the pack, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo. Meanwhile, NBC was able to generate little interest in its pre-Olympics coverage. reports that "Idol" delivered a 3.9 average rating in viewers 18-49, an improvement of 3% from a week ago. "Idol" also generated 13.29 million total viewers, edging CBS's 200th episode of "Criminal Minds (12.81 million) for No. 1 in that metric.

ABC's "Modern Family" came close in the 18-49 demo, averaging a 3.5 rating to rank as the No. 2 show of the night on broadcast.

Second-place CBS opened prime time with a repeat of "Criminal Minds" (1.5 average in 18-49), following with the 200th episode of the show (2.8 average, up 27% from its most recent original). "CSI" won the 10 p.m. hour with a 2.0, up 25%.

ABC found itself in third place overall, with nothing coming close to "Modern Family's" 3.5. "The Middle" ticked down 4% from its previous original to a 2.2 in viewers 18-49, "Suburgatory" rose 13% from last week's series low to a 1.7, "Super Fun Night" rebounded from last week's series low, climbing 23% to a 1.6, and "Nashville" equaled its series low with a 1.3, drifting down 13% from a week ago.

NBC brought up the rear among the big 4 broadcast nets, even as it continued to raise the curtain on its Olympics coverage. The hour special "How to Raise an Olympian" got prime time started on a sour note for the Peacock, managing only a 1.1 average in adults 18-49 -- off 15% from the performance of "Revolution" in the time slot a week earlier, and down 22% from Tuesday's Olympics special.

NBC did a little better with its regular drama programming. "Law & Order: SVU" pulled in a 1.8 average in the 18-49 demo, slipping 10% from a week ago, while "Chicago PD" held steady with a 1.7.

When all was said and done, Fox was the class of the field for prime time overall with a 3.9 average in 18-49, topping CBS (2.1 average), ABC (1.9), NBC (1.5) and Univision (1.3). Fox also held a comfortable margin in total viewers with 13.3 million, ahead of CBS (10.7 million), ABC (6.7 million), NBC (5.6 million) and Univision (3.2 million).

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