TV Ratings Wednesday: 'American Idol' Steady, Fox Wins Night; 'Apartment 23' Has OK Premiere ; 'Modern Family' Returns Down

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April 12th, 2012

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Fox won the night with adults 18-49 and total viewers as American Idol was steady vs. last Wednesday with a 4.9 adults 18-49 rating. Note, last week American Idol was adjusted up two tenths in the final numbers, so it's possible it's actually up on the week.

The Middle and Suburgatory both returned steady vs. their last originals with each drawing a 2.1 adults 18-49 rating. Modern Family returned after a three week break with a 4.1 adults 18-49 rating, down 9% (four tenths) vs. its last original. The premiere of Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 drew a 2.9 adults 18-49 rating. By comparison that's well below the best Happy Endings rating of the season (3.5). That's on par with how Happy Endings has performed out of Modern Family this spring, though Happy Endings was following higher-rated telecasts of Modern Family (example in February Happy Endings scored a 2.9 adults 18-49 rating out of a 5.5 adults 18-49 rating for Modern Family).

Survivor fell to a series low (for a regular telecast) 2.6 adults 18-49 rating and Criminal Minds was steady with a 3.0 adults 18-49 rating.  With more competition, CSI was way down (21%) but still led the 10pm hour with a 2.3 adults 18-49 rating. While the return of Law & Order: SVU no doubt considered to the drop for CSI, it's still notable that SVU could only tie a Revenge recap show (and it actually slightly trailed in total viewers).

Earlier in the night on NBC,  Betty White: Off Their Rockers was down two tenths and Best Friends Forever was down 25% to a 0.9 adults 18-49 rating. Back at 9pm, Rock Center with Brian Williams was down 25% vs. last week when it aired at 10pm to a 0.6 adults 18-49 rating.

Late-night results are below the primetime data.

Overnight ratings for Wednesday, April 11, 2012:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating/Sh Viewers (Millions)
8:00 FOX American Idol 4.7/14 15.62
CBS Survivor 2.6/8 9.63
ABC The Middle 2.1/7 7.04
NBC Betty White's Off Their Rockers 1.6/5 6.16
CW America's Next Top Model (R) 0.4/1 0.95
8:30 ABC Suburgatory 2.1/6 6.11
NBC Best Friends Forever 0.9/3 2.94
9:00 FOX American Idol 5.1/13 17.14
ABC Modern Family 4.1/11 10.25
CBS Criminal Minds 3.0/8 11.17
NBC Rock Center with Brian Williams 0.6/2 2.75
CW America's Next Top Model 0.5/1 1.03
9:30 ABC Don't Trust the B----- in Apartment 23 (Premiere) 2.9/7 6.98
10:00 CBS CSI 2.3/6 9.80
ABC Revenge: From the Beginning (Recap) 1.6/4 5.57
NBC Law & Order: SVU 1.6/4 5.42

via NBC press note:

In Late-Night Metered Markets Wednesday night:

  • In Nielsen's 56 metered markets, household results were: "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," 2.8/7; CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman," 2.6/7; and ABC's combo of "Nightline," 3.2/8; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 1.6/5.
  • In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, adult 18-49 results were: “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” 0.8/4; "Late Show," 0.6/3; "Nightline," 1.2/5; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 0.7/4.
  • At 12:35 a.m., "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (1.4/5 in metered-market household) beat CBS's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" (1.2/4).  In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, "Late Night" (0.5/3 in 18-4) topped "Late Late Show" (0.4/2).
  • At 1:35 a.m., "Last Call with Carson Daly" averaged a 0.9/4 in metered-market households and a 0.3/3 in adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with local people meters

NOTE: All ratings are "live plus same day" from Nielsen Media Research unless otherwise indicated.
Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2012 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

You can see TV ratings from other recent Overnight ratings reports here.


Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings, including demographics, are available at approximately 11 AM (ET) the day after telecast, and are released to subscribing customers daily. These data, from the National People Meter sample, are strictly time-period information, based on the normal broadcast network feed, and include all programming on the affiliated stations, sometimes including network programming, sometimes not. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. For example, with a World Series game, Fast Affiliate Ratings would include whatever aired from 8-11PM on affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, following the live football game, but not game coverage that begins at 5PM PT. The same would be true of Presidential debates as well as live award shows and breaking news reports.

Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.

Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)

Time Shifted Viewing – Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live+Same Day (Live+SD) and Live+7 Day. Time shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs. Live+Same Day (Live+SD) include viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3:00AM local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live+7 Day ratings include incremental viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

For more information see Numbers 101.

  • Tony

    That is a pretty good rating for a Revenge recap! I think ABC should have put the recap in a different slot, like behind a new Grey’s or DH episode and bring in those viewers into Revenge, but honestly I think it will come back to a 2.5. This show just has everything it takes to make it ABC’s next monster hit in the vein of DH/Greys/LOST. They just have to promote it! If the finale delivers and is hugely buzzed about, I think it could come in the fall to huge numbers!

  • Person of Interest

    this is the premiere episode the next episode of apartment 23 will go down and maybe by the end of this season it will go below 1.8 or maybe even less.

  • forg

    Glad The Middle and Suburgatory didn’t fall below 2.0. Modern Family in the 4s, still great. Solid premiere for Apartment 23

  • CrimTV

    @Person of Interest

    So you predict Apartment 23 will be 1.8 or less after 6 more episodes?

  • Spurer

    Damn I realized last night how much I miss Whitney and Chelsea.

  • JeffinChicago

    Apt 23 is very funny and the humor is adult with a higher degree of sexual references than anything preceding it on ABC Wednesday. That being said, 9:30 is not exactly prime family viewing time. I think an edgy, more adult comedy following Modern Family is appropriate. While Modern Family is a “gentler” form of comedy, I’m not sure its subtler and more nuanced humor appeals to young children anyway. I also love Happy Endings and have no doubt it will be returning next year. Happy Endings humor, while not necessarily as sexual in nature as Apt 23, involves 20-30 something adult friends and their relationship/dating adventures. If Apt 23 were rated R, Happy Endings would receive a PG, relatively speaking. I think either Apt 23 or Happy Endings is appropriate for the time. Both Happy Endings and now Apt 23 face the strongest 30 minutes of Idol so anything that goes in this slot will get some ratings bruises (those mid hour starts can be challenging, especially up against a relatively strong CBS procedural that started at the top of the hour).

    I see a certain logical progression in ABC’s programming choices on Wednesday. The Middle is the most family oriented comedy with story lines revolving around the young children and the adults with nearly zero sexual references. Suburgatory revolves mostly around the adventures of Tess and her high school friends with some mature themed stories involving the adult parents. The sexual content in Suburgatory is certainly present and might make some parents uneasy watching this with younger children but it is hardly raunchy comedy by today’s standards, especially geared toward teens. Modern Family writers concentrate mostly on stories involving the adults (even though the children have active roles in each episode). While the sexual references are few, there are a fair number of sophisticated innuendos in the dialogue that would be missed by young children. The Mitchell and Cam as gay parents stories might make some more “conservative” parents a little uneasy, too (but to each his own, I guess).

    Cougar Town (another comedy gem I love) seems out of place at 8:30 on Tuesday since its humor is more adult situation themed (along the lines of mid-life crises, etc) but the sexual references on CT are relatively tame compared to something like How I Met Your Mother, Two Broke Girls and Two and a Half Men, all of which push the boundaries of sexual raunchiness in their humor with the constant references to female and male genitalia and toilet humor. I’m not opposed to sex and fart jokes but repeating them so often doesn’t make them funnier.

  • JeffinChicago

    Would somebody just please give the hook or press the button for the trap door on Betty White. Yeah, she’s a sweet old lady with spunk but I am really tired of seeing her everywhere. How about a nice cameo appearance every now and then? Wow, Rock Center ratings are an embarrassment.

  • HGFM


    There’s no reason to think that SVU would do 2.3-2.5 if it was on Monday or Tuesday. Its highest rating this season was a 2.4 for the premiere. It’s gone down because people don’t want to watch it anymore. It could be due to the bad writing or the bad acting, especially from Hargitay, or that all the episodes are recycled materials from previous seasons. Moving the show to a new time slot won’t fix those problems.

  • Tony

    will we FINALLY see some renewals from ABC now that ALL of their shows have debuted?

  • NYC

    What I think the ABC schedule should be next year:
    8: Apartment 23(happy endings mid season)
    830: NEW COMEDY (suburgatory moved to Tuesday)
    9: Modern Family
    930: The Middle
    10: Private Practice

  • rob60990

    An extremely racy show at 8 while the biggest family friendly comedy at 9:30. Makes perfect sense.

  • Anon

    @ HGFM

    It’s amazing the hatred you have a Mariska. This is your obssesão pathological. But be assured that millions disagree with you.

  • Anon


    I totally agree. If SVU had a good lead-in series would be with better ratings. The episodes are great. I have no doubt that Mariska has another Emmy nomination. She is fabulous and the whole cast ..

  • CrimTV


    The thing is SVU is on it’s 13th season, it shouldn’t NEED a good lead-in anymore, it should be able to stand on it’s own.

  • HGFM


    I’ll counter with the millions of people who stopped watching the show since last season. Mostly what is left are the rabid Mariska fans who don’t care about the show’s quality having gone downhill.

  • Water Cooler

    I have no idea why ABC keeps scheduling these edgy comedies with the family comedies. That’s why they bleed so hard out of Modern Family. They don’t fit!

    I think its likely we’ll see LMS with Reba’s new comedy in the same hour this fall and that will get their multi-cam block jumpstarted for fall 2013. Not sure if it will be on Tuesdays or Fridays.

    I’m starting to wonder if the edgy comedies have a place on ABC’s schedule outside of Wednesdays.

  • Andrew

    NBC cannot schedule any good show to get viewers. They put SVU with no lead in w/ shows that are doing poorly. Next season they need to shape up and carefully plan and evaluate all shows. I like shows like Awake which is surely to be canceled due to the time slot it is in, so I gave up on it. OMG!!!!

  • silvit

    SVU may be renewed but it shouldn’t be. Its numbers are terrible and getting worse every week. If this show was on any other network besides NBC it would be over. It has gone downhill and the writing is dull. Markiskas so called relationship with Harry was painful to watch.

    Well,it was good for comedy. The more they try to pair Olivia Benson with men, the more is clear she shouldn’t be with them. Just let it go.

  • Boyd

    Both Survivor & CSI are WAY WAY past their prime. Nice to see that viewers are finally tiring of them.

  • Networkman

    @RyanCanada, I agree with your assessment. Dreama Walker, the blond who plays the lead role was the weakest part of the show. Still, I did enjoy the pilot. Krysten Ritter was so hilarious that she made the episode entertaining. In my opinion she is a star. I would say that she is better in this role than Zooey in New Girl. ABC has good comedies that are garning mid 2s in the demo. They don’t need to schedule any new single cams in the Fall. These more adult comedies should go in the 10pm slot

    8pm The Manzanis
    8:30 Only Fools and Horses
    9pm Dancing with the Stars Results/ GCB(Midseason)
    10pm Don’t Trust the B… in Apt. 23
    10:30 Happy Endings

    8pm The Middle
    8:30 Cougar Town (Final Chance)
    9pm Modern Family
    9:30 Suburgatory

    8pm Malibu Country
    8:30 Last Man Standing
    9pm Body of Proof
    10pm 20/20

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