Wednesday’s hour of American Idol improved over Tuesday night’s two hour average, when it averaged a 6.0 rating with adults 18-49 in the preliminary numbers, but its 6.3 rating on Wednesday night was still down two-tenths from last Wednesday’s preliminary 6.5 rating and saw its worst Wednesday since 2002.  Nonetheless there was still enough gas left in Idol’s tank to race past its broadcast competition.

Down was a (continuing) theme all around on Cinco de Mayo,  though CBS was in all new episodes this week and wasn’t last week, which probably accounts for some of the downward movement at ABC, FOX and NBC.  

Modern Family still led the night with a 3.8 adults 18-49 rating, but that was down three-tenths from last week.  Cougar Town’s 2.4 adults 18-49 rating was four-tenths off last week and, The Middle’s 2.2 adults 18-49 rating at 8:30p was down a couple of tenths from last week as well.

A special repeat of The Big Bang Theory at 8:30 averaged a 1.8 rating with adults 18-49, exactly the same rating as a special repeat of Two and a Half Men garnered last week (though in Men’s defense, last week’s New Adventures of Old Christine was a repeat and this week it was new).  While even repeats of CBS’s Monday 9pm comedy block perform fabulously when they air on Mondays from 9p-10p, a Wednesday 8pm comedy block has been a tough nut for CBS to crack.

At 8pm America’s Next Top Model won the 8pm hour with CW’s target of women 18-34 with a 2.3 rating, and won the hour with all adults 18-34 as well (by comparison Tuesday night’s episode of The Hills had a 3.5 rating with women 18-34 on MTV.)

Hardly a surprise, but Happy Town dropped from its premiere — four tenths to a 1.2 adults 18-49 rating.   NBC’s Up against Idol, NBC’s sure to be canceled Mercy didn’t fare as well this week as last. It dropped four-tenths to a 1.0 adults 18-49 rating, its lowest-rated original telecast ever.

NBC claimed another 10pm victory (two nights in a row) with Law & Order: SVU besting CSI: NY.   SVU was still down 10% from last week when it faced a repeat with a CSI: NY. I look at CSI: NY’s ratings and think it will be interesting to see what CBS does next season.

Nielsen overnight ratings for Wednesday, May 5, 2010:

late night info is below the primetime table.

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating/Sh Viewers (Millions)
8:00 CBS New Adventures of Old Christine 1.8/6 6.43
NBC Minute to Win It (R) 1.6/6 5.50
CW America’s Next Top Model 1.5/5 3.40
ABC The Middle  (R) 1.3/5 4.87
FOX Lie To Me (R) 1.3/4 4.44
8:30 ABC The Middle 2.2/7 6.78
CBS The Big Bang Theory (R) 1.8/6 6.15
9:00 FOX American Idol 6.3/17 19.05
ABC Modern Family 3.8/11 9.32
CBS Criminal Minds 3.3/9 12.22
NBC Mercy 1.0/3 3.95
CW Fly Girls 0.6/2 1.14
9:30 ABC Cougar Town 2.4/7 5.91
CW Fly Girls (Season Finale) 0.4/1 0.94
10:00 NBC Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 2.6/8 8.25
CBS CSI: NY 2.2/7 10.22
ABC Happy Town 1.2/4 3.89

In Late-Night Metered Markets Wednesday night (via NBC press notes):

  • In Nielsen’s 56 metered markets, household results were: “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” 3.1/8; CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman,” 3.2/8; and ABC’s “Nightline,” 2.9/7; and “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” 1.3/4.
  • At 1:35 a.m., “Last Call with Carson Daly” averaged a 0.8/3 in metered-market households and a 0.4/3 in adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with local people meters.
  • In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, adult 18-49 results were: “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” 1.1/5; “Late Show,” 1.0/5; “Nightline,” 1.2/5; and “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” 0.6/3.
  • At 12:35 a.m., “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” (1.3/5 in metered-market households) trailed CBS’s “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” (1.6/6).  In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, “Late Night” (0.6/4 in 18-49) tied “Late Late Show” (0.6/4).

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2010 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 which are currently in approximately 24.4% of all U.S. TV households. 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.

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