The Programming Insider: Idol-Ignited Fox Crushes Rivals

Bests No. 2 CBS by 5.3 rating points

In Today's Issue:

Prime-Time Metered Market Wednesday Ratings: Fox Wins; CBS a Respectable Second

Ratings Box: What’s Hot/What’s Not

On the Air Tonight: Prime-Time Programming Options

TV Tidbits: Notes of Interest

TV Trivia Time: Missing Florida




Wednesday 5/11/11

Note: The overnight data now includes DVR playback until 3 a.m. local time. One year earlier it was based on Live data only.  All times are ET/PT.

Household Rating/Share

Fox: 12.2/19, CBS: 6.9/11, ABC: 4.3/ 7, NBC: 3.4/ 5, CW: 1.3/ 2

Percent Change from the Year-Ago Evening (Wednesday 5/12/10):

Fox: +45, ABC: + 2, CBS: no change, NBC: -23, CW: -59

Yesterday’s Winners:

American Idol (CBS), Modern Family (ABC), Criminal Minds (CBS), Law & Order: SVU (NBC)

Honorable Mention:

Survivor: Redemption Island (CBS)


Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (CBS)

Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

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

Ratings Breakdown:

It was another American Idol-ignited victory for Fox, which bested No. 2 CBS in the Wednesday overnights by a considerable 5.3 rating points.  In the distant No. 3 spot was ABC, which continues to house one bona fide midweek hit, Modern Family, followed by NBC and lowly The CW.

American Idol scored a hefty 14.7 rating/23 share from 8-9:30 p.m., building by half hour as follows: 13.7/22 – 14.8/23 – 15.6/23.  But recently introduced lead-out comedy Breaking In earned its cancelation stripes with a second-place 4.8/ 8 at 9:30 p.m. (and retention out of the 9 p.m. portion of a mere 31 percent).

As for American Idol, tonight is the night that Haley Reinhart is likely to finally be sent packing.

Over at CBS, Survivor: Redemption Island was on the map with a respectable second-place 6.5/10 in the overnights from 8-9 p.m.  But considering the season ends this Sunday with a two-hour installment (followed by the traditional reunion show), personally I think it is absurd to still have eight contestants (including four on Redemption Island).  The concept of Redemption Island might have gone too far.

Leading out of Survivor was underrated Criminal Minds (#2: 8.3/13 at 9 p.m.), which perked up to a dominant 9.0/14 at 9:30 p.m., and spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (#2: 5.9/10 at 10 p.m.), which is unlikely to return due to the ongoing erosion out of its parent series.  Last night, Suspect Behavior dipped from the 9:30 p.m. portion of Criminal Minds by 34 percent, and it's trailed competing Law & Order: SVU on NBC (#1: 6.1/10) by 3 percent.

In season (or series) finale news, freshman Better With You finished third at 8:30 p.m. with a lackluster 3.8/ 6 in the overnights and retention out of lead-in The Middle (#3: 4.8/ 8 at 8 p.m.) of 79 percent.  Given the HUT levels are higher at 8:30 p.m., the noticeable erosion all season will lead to its ultimate demise.  Next on ABC was standout Modern Family (#2: 7.7/12 at 9 p.m.), which will finish second in the half hour among adults 18-49, followed by already renewed Cougar Town (#3: 4.3/ 7 at 9:30 p.m.), which did not deserve its early pick-up, and two episodes of on-the-fence Happy Endings (10 p.m.: #3, 3.0/ 5; 10:30 p.m.: #3, 2.6/ 5).  At a time when Happy Endings really needs to prove itself, the average 2.8/ 5 from 10-11 p.m. certainly does not bode well.