Fox easily won Wednesday night with American Idol. But the hour-long installment was down 8 percent week-to-week. Nevertheless, with an 8.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 23.6 million viewers over all, Idol was easily the top-rated show of the night and outperformed the combined four-network competition in the 8 p.m. hour by nearly 70 percent.
This is the final week of auditions for Idol, with “Hollywood Week” set to begin next week. Historically, the audition installments trend down – as the novelty of awful and delusional contestants wears off – and tends to pick back up once finalists are chosen.
ABC was second for the night with strong tune-in for Modern Family (5.0, 13 million) at 9 p.m., which gave new Matthew Perry comedy Mr. Sunshine (his big return to primetime) a strong lead-in for a 3.7 rating and 10.6 million viewers overall. That was enough to give ABC a win in the 9 p.m. hour (4.4, 11.8 million) beating out a new installment of CBS’ Criminal Minds (3.7, 14.3 million), which was up 16 percent compared to its last original on Jan. 26.
Mr. Sunshine bested last fall’s premiere of Cougar Town by 9 percent and also marked ABC’s highest-rated scripted midseason bow in nearly three years.
CBS (2.3, 10.5 million) was third for the night with Paula Abdul’s Live to Dance helping to drag the net down, posting a 0.9 rating with 4.8 million viewers, flat compared to last week’s series low.
Two hours of Minute To Win It (1.8, 6.1 million) did little for NBC, which was fourth for the night. But Law & Order: SVU (2.6, 8.0 million) won its time slot against new installments of CBS’ Blue Bloods (2.3, 12.4 million) and ABC’s Off the Map (1.9, 5.5 million), which featured a 127 Hours-esque story line about a young girl who was pinned under water while scuba diving.