Strong performances by "Survivor: Nicaragua" and "Criminal Minds" helped CBS win Wednesday night, despite "The Defenders" losing ground to a "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" repeat.
Among adults 18-49, CBS averaged a 2.9 rating, just ahead of the 2.6 rating for NBC. FOX's 2.1 rating was third in the key demographic, with ABC's 1.6 rating and the 0.5 rating for The CW following.
Overall, CBS won comfortably with an average audience of 12.125 million viewers and a 7.3 rating/12 share. NBC was a distant second with a 4.9/8 and 7.87 million viewers. FOX's 3.5/6 and 5.84 million viewers and ABC's 3.1/5 and 4.76 million viewers followed. The CW was fifth with 1.31 million viewers and a 0.8/1.
8 p.m. -- The season's penultimate installment of "Survivor: Nicaragua" gave CBS 12.37 million viewers and a 3.5 rating among adults 18-49, controlling the 8 p.m. hour. NBC's "The Sing Off" was second with 8.15 million viewers and a 2.7 demo rating. FOX's "Human Target" averaged 5.79 million viewers and a 1.5 demo rating, holding off the 5.14 million viewers for ABC's repeats of "The Middle" and "Better With You." The CW's "Vampire Diaries" repeat was fifth with 1.37 million viewers.
9 p.m. -- "Criminal Minds" kept CBS in first in the 9 p.m. hour with 13.8 million viewers and a 3.2 demo rating. NBC's "The Sing Off" improved to 8.6 million viewers and came in a close second in the key demo with a 3.0 rating. The finale of "Hell's Kitchen" gave FOX 5.9 million viewers and a 2.6 demo rating, with ABC's repeats of "Modern Family" taking fourth with 5.87 million viewers. The CW's second "Vampire Diaries" repeat remained in fifth.
10 p.m. -- CBS' "The Defenders" ruled the 10 p.m. hour in total viewers with 10.205, but only tied for first in the demo with a 2.0 rating. NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" repeat was second overall with 6.86 million viewers and tied for first in the demo. Two ABC repeats of "Cougar Town" averaged 3.27 million viewers in third.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.
A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.