The Programming Insider

Idol-ignited Fox dominates

Prime-Time Metered Market Wednesday Ratings: Idol-Ignited Fox Leads; CBS’ Survivor Still an Option 

Wednesday 4/20/11

Yesterday's Winners:

American Idol (Fox), Survivor: Redemption Island (CBS), Modern Family (ABC)  

Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

Minute to Win It (NBC), Better With You (ABC), Cougar Town (ABC), Breaking In (Fox), America’s Next Top Model (CW), Happy Endings (ABC)

Ratings Breakdown:

Fox, of course, won this third Wednesday in April thanks to another 90-minute edition of American Idol, which scored a typically hefty 14.5 rating/23 share in the overnights from 8-9:30 p.m. The half-hour breakdown was as follows: 13.5/22 – 14.8/23 – 15.3/23. But the news of note about American Idol this morning was rocker judge Steven Tyler dropping the F-Bomb after Casey Abram’s performance. 

American Idol led into week three of sitcom Breaking In, which dipped to a second place 5.0/ 8 at 9:30 p.m. Although retention out of the 9 p.m. portion of Idol (15.3/23) was only 33 percent, Breaking In was consistent from one week earlier (three-week overnight track: 6.4/10 – 5.1/ 8 – 5.0/ 8). Had the lead-in not been American Idol, this sitcom could have a future. As it stands, the network could do better here.

Runner-up CBS kicked off the night with still viable Survivor: Redemption Island at a comfortable second place 6.5/10 in the overnights at 8 p.m.  Comparably, this was 69 percent above year-ago sitcom occupants The New Adventures of Old Christine (3.8/ 6 on April 21) and Accidentally on Purpose (3.9/ 6). 

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen Survivor yet, stop reading now. Nut-job Phillip’s meltdown last night was too over the top for this perennial fan of the franchise. Since Rob and company have the numbers, why not send him packing now? Unlike prior villains Russell Hantz, Jerri Manthey, and Parvati Shallow, to name a few, there is nothing redeeming about Phillip. Kudos to ousted Julie, meanwhile, who left with a bang by admitting she hid Phillip’s shorts.  Unfortunately, that means we have to continue to see him in his pink skivvies. 

Next on CBS was a repeat of Criminal Minds (#3: 5.3/ 8 at 9 p.m.), followed by an encore telecast of spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior at a dominant 4.5/ 8 at 10 p.m.  A repeat telecast winning the 10 p.m. hour does not bode well for the two competing episodes of ABC sitcom Happy Endings.

The Wednesday standout on ABC, of course, was demo-friendly Modern Family at a second place 6.9/10 in the overnights at 9 p.m. Comparably, that built from lead-in Better With You (#3: 3.4/ 5 at 8:30 p.m.) by a massive 103 percent. But the return of Cougar Town to the 9:30 p.m. half hour dipped to third with a 4.2/ 7 (with retention of only 61 percent out of Modern Family). And the two episodes of recently introduced sitcom Happy Endings did not have a happy ending with an average 3.3/ 6 in the overnights from 10-11 p.m. (10:00 p.m.: #2, 3.4/ 6; 10:30 p.m.: #3, 3.1/ 5). One week earlier, two episodes of Happy Endings from 9:30-10:30 p.m. averaged a 4.7/ 8. 

Earlier in the evening on ABC was sophomore The Middle at a third place 4.6/ 7 at 8 p.m.  Considering this faces both American Idol and Survivor, it could be worse.

Over at NBC, game show Minute to Win It remains lost at 8 p.m., with a very distant 2.1/ 3.  Next in Peacock land was a repeat of Minute to Win It (#4: 2.0/ 3—just what we needed, right?), followed by a repeat of Law & Order: SVU at a second place 3.6/ 6 at 10 p.m.