In its third week of its 28th season, CBS’ reality veteran Survivor finally topped Fox rival American Idol head-to-head for the very first time in the key adults 18-49 demo and in viewers. Survivor pulled in a 2.5/8 rating and 9.86 million viewers Wednesday night, with a live two-hour Idol drawing a 2.3/8 rating and an audience of 9.57 million in their common hour of 8-9 PM. The real question now is if those numbers will hold, with pre-emptions on CBS in about 2% of the country due to ACC and SEC college basketball games. Survivor: Cagayan was up 4% from last week in the demo and up 2% in viewers on a night that saw one of the tribes actively throw a challenge and still beat another tribe that stumbled from bad to worse. All of which means that there was a lot of bad blood when the inevitable came and a contestant was sent home.
Criminal Minds (2.3/7), Survivor‘s lead-out and the night’s most-watched show with 10.72 million viewers, fell 12% from last week. On the other hand, after going down last week, CSI (2.0/6) was up 18% this week.
Over on Idol (2.4/7), it was Songs From The Cinema night Wednesday and things certainly got dramatic as the remaining 11 finalists belted out some Adele, some Beatles and some Elton John among others. The show was down 11% from last week’s preliminary fast nationals. Still, Fox won the closely fought night with a 2.4/7 rating, while second place CBS (2.3/7) took the viewership top spot with 10.19 million watching, topping Fox’s 10.11 million.
The top-rated show of the night, ABC’s Modern Family (3.3/9), was down a tenth from last week’s airing. However, the ABC comedy did see serious movement over Idol, with a 38% lead in the key demo over the Fox series — its best result ever head-to-head with Idol. The good news did not carry over to Modern Family‘s lead-out Mixology. With a 1.5/4, the unsteady freshman was down 12% from last week to hit a new low. It was a better night for The Middle (1.9/7), which was even with last week, but fellow comedy Suburgatory (1.4/5) took an 18% hit to tie a series low. Nashville (1.4/4) was also even with last week.
It was a night of not a lot of change on NBC. Matching a series low, Revolution (1.3/4) was even with last week and the two weeks before that. Law & Order: SVU (1.6/5) was also even with its March 5 airing as Wednesday’s show jumped out of its usual ripped-from-the-headlines format last night to go deeper into one of the detectives’ personal vices. L&O: SVU did see a small rise in viewership of 4% to 6.25 million compared with last week. The only other movement of the night for the network was Chicago PD (1.6/5), which bopped up 7% from the low of its March 4 episode.
Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.