TV Ratings Wednesday: 'American Idol' Tops Night, 'Criminal Minds' Rises, 'Modern Family', 'Suburgatory' & 'Revenge' Hit Lows

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May 17th, 2012


Adults 18-49: Rating/Share 4.8/14 2.7/8 2.3/6 1.5/4 1.3/4 0.4/1
Adults 18-34: Rating/Share 3.2/11 1.6/5 1.8/6 1.5/5 1.0/3 0.4/1
Total Viewers (million) 17.29 10.39 6.62 3.76 4.53 0.95


FOX was the number one network among adults 18-49 and total viewers.

On FOX, American Idol earned a 4.8 adults 18-49 rating, up 7% from last week's 4.5.

On ABC, The Middle scored a1.9 among adults 18-49,even with last week. The season finale of Suburgatory got a 1.8 adults 18-49 rating, down 14% from last week's 2.1 for a series low. Modern Family earned a 3.9  adults 18-49 rating, udown from last week's 4.4 for a season low. Don't Trust the B in Apt. 23 scored a 2.0 in adults 18-49, down from last week's 2.3 and matching its series low. Revenge earned a 2.0  adults 18-49 rating, down from last week's 2.2 for a series low.

On CBS, the two hour Criminal Minds season finale scored a 3.5 adults 18-49 rating up from last week's 2.9 and growing 6% over the 3.3 last year's one hour season finale earned.It was the show's highest rated episode among adults 18-49 since January 25, 2012.

On NBC, Betty White's Off Their Rockers got a 1.4 adults 18-49 rating at 8PM, compared to last week's 1.5 and a 1.5 at 8:30PM, versus last week's 1.4 At 10PM Law & Order SVU , which had a repeat of the show as a lead-in, earned a 1.7 adults 18-49 rating down from last week's 1.8.

On the CW, America's Next top Model scored a 0.5 among adults 18-49 versus last week's 0.4.

Late-night results are below the primetime data.

Overnight ratings for Wednesday, May 16, 2012:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating/Sh Viewers (millions)
8:00 FOX American Idol (8-10PM) 4.8/14 17.29
ABC The Middle 1.9/6 6.49
NBC Betty's White's Off Their Rockers 1.4/5 5.11
CBS Mike & Molly - R 1.1/4 4.46
CW America's Next Top Model - R 0.4/1 0.80
8:30 ABC Suburgatory (season finale) 1.8/6 5.42
NBC Betty's White's Off Their Rockers 1.5/5 5.40
CBS Rules of Engagement - R 1.1/3 4.02
9:00 ABC Modern Family 3.9/11 9.30
CBS Criminal Minds (9-11PM) (season finale) 3.5/10 13.47
NBC Law & Order: SVU - R 0.8/2 2.84
CW America's Next Top Model 0.5/1 1.10
9:30 ABC Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 2.0/5 4.84
10:00 ABC Revenge 2.0/5 6.85
NBC Law & Order: SVU 1.7/5 5.50


via NBC press note:

  • In Nielsen's 56 metered markets, household results were: "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," 2.6/7; CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman," 2.5/6; and ABC's combo of "Nightline," 3.1/8; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 1.5/4.
  • In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, adult 18-49 results were: “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” 0.8/4; "Late Show," 0.7/3; "Nightline," 1.1/5; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 0.6/3.
  • At 12:35 a.m., "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (1.3/5 in metered-market households) tied CBS's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" (1.3/5). In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, "Late Night" (0.5/3 in 18-49) 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.

Definitions: 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.

  • Leonard

    @ Ram510: I see some people saying it should be cancelled. I don’t think its gonna make it past October. I think Reba & LMS are going to replace it by November like some people were predicting.

  • OMG

    Now maybe it makes sense to move Revenge to 9pm on Sundays. I know it might totally crumble over there, but it is just going to die a slow death here, and who knows, as unlikely as it may be, Once Upon A Time might just save Revenge. They are going into saving mode now.

    I guess weakened lead-in due to American Idol being in the final stages as well as Criminal Minds just absolutely getting way higher than CSI ever did in the same time slot, might have stole the 2 tenths away. I think next week, unfortunately might be a disaster for Revenge too, perhaps even worse.

  • Bunny


    I agree. I don’t see ABC ever being successful with young,urban single-cams the network should just stick with soapy dramas or family-oriented sitcomes..

    I already made peace that next season will be HE and Apt 23 last..so I hope they go out with bang before ABC yank them both.

  • Guy

    Thats disappointing for Revenge. It was awesome last night but i must admit i watched it 1hr later due to watching Criminal Minds which was also great last night.

    Can’t wait for Grey’s tonight.

  • Leonard

    @ OMG: That’s why moving to Revenge to Sundays was a safe move b/c it looks Revenge is starting to slowly die in that Wednesday timeslot and with Chicago Fire coming this fall that was a good move. OUAT is a protected lead-in so it should do well against football.

  • Lucas


    Suburgatory is doing it with a smaller lead-in. Also, its ratings are much more stable.

  • Loni

    I hate hearing that my favorite shows are hitting series lows. Maybe it’s the weather and people just aren’t watching as much tv this month. Oh well, the good news is Revenge has already been renewed so I have nothing to worry about.

  • s0303

    tried watching suburgatory for the first time last night, it was awful…i don’t know if i even made it half way thru the episode…glad modern family is falling, it’s not nearly as funny as the first 2 seasons and certainly doesn’t deserve the 5.4’s it was getting earlier in the season…jmo

  • Leonard

    @ Bad Wolf: I think eventually NBC is going to have to start renewing shows that skew old like HL did b/c I can see them easily running into this problem again in the future as shows continue to decline in the demo.

  • Tony

    I definitely see SUPERNATURAL losing viewers in that timeslot… much more competitive then Friday at 9

  • eridapo


    TBBT was the first time anyone tried to do anything against Idol and it work. However TBBT went up against the results show. Survivor and CM have always competed against Idol. Survivor and CM have always gone up against Idol, so it is not like the CBS made a move against Idol.

    I really applaud CBS for moving 2.5 to Thursday, but I also wish that other networks made a play for 8PM on Wednesdays.

  • Bad Wolf

    Strange how Criminal Minds skews so much younger than NCIS and its spinoff. The 2 Tuesdays procedurals ironically stay alive because their viewers numbers, which are ‘100% meaningless’, are very high. Had NCIS and NCIS:LA been at the same viewership level as Criminal Minds, they may not have made it to next season. Hawaii 5-0 also skews way younger than them.

  • tv_viewer

    The Good Wife might start with a 2.0 in the season premiere and stay in the high 1s for fall 2012. Because of the NFL overruns, I expect Revenge will be competing against The Amazing Race for 15-30 minutes in the fall. I expect The Amazing Race to beat Revenge for those 15-30 minutes but Revenge will beat The Good Wife for the other 30 – 45 minutes during the NFL season.

    Sunday at 9:00 pm is too important a time slot for ABC so they made the best decision by giving it to the second strongest freshman drama they have. During May sweeps, Revenge is looking more like Body of Proof in its first season than Once Upon A Time. If Revenge’s second season starts to slow down the plot and resemble the pacing of soap operas, Revenge may end up matching the ratings of Body of Proof’s second season.

  • MPS

    The idea any shows will lose viewers to a show on the CW is comical.

  • Bad Wolf

    @ MPS

    I totally agree !

  • eridapo

    Why is there not an edit button on this site?

  • JJ

    I can’t believe how many people watch those CBS procedurals. They should use that time to study for their GED tests.

  • P&B


    The writers had a hard task to keep viewers glue to their tv screen for the whole two hours but they manage to do just that!

    For me the best procedural is CM but I did love the NCIS final. Glad they both did well ratings wise with their finale.

  • Maria

    A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Criminal Minds finale, just A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.! Sooooooo glad its ratings have gone up! :D

    Wasn’t an easy episode to follow, the plot was convoluted and was moving at a fast pace; the fact that it picked viewers every half hour, instead of losing them, says everything about how good the scripts were!

  • Jess

    i think Revenge lost a huge chunk due to Criminal Minds. Because I too watched CM live and then watched Revenge on my DVR.

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