FOX spent weeks aggressively promoting the second season premiere of "Human Target," but ended up with the action-dramedy neck-and-neck with an NBC special on British royal lovebirds. "Human Target" delivered more viewers than FOX's regular slot occupant "Hell's Kitchen," but fewer younger viewers, an audience that would have been terrific in the show's original Friday slot, but looks only so-so on Wednesdays.
Meanwhile, CBS won Wednesday easily, particularly overall.
Among adults 18-49, CBS averaged a 3.0 rating, topping the 2.6 rating for ABC in the key demographic. FOX was third with a 2.2 rating, with NBC's 1.9 rating and the 1.0 rating for The CW following.
Overall, CBS averaged an estimated 11.89 million viewers and a 7.1 rating/12 share. NBC was second for the night with 7.39 million viewers and a 5.0/8, holding off the 4.5/8 and 7.28 million viewers for ABC. FOX's 3.7/6 and 6.245 million viewers finished fourth. The CW was fifth with a 1.5/2 and 2.28 million viewers.
8 p.m. -- "Survivor: Nicaragua" started things off in first for CBS with 12.01 million viewers and a 3.5 demo rating, both up from last week when the competition struggled against the AMAs on ABC. "The Middle" and "Better with You" combined to give ABC 8.11 million viewers and a 2.5 demo rating, both good for second. NBC's "Dateline" special on William and Kate's royal engagement drew 6.7 million viewers for third overall, with a 1.6 demo rating in fourth. FOX's "Human Target" premiere averaged 6.62 million viewers and a 1.8 demo rating, fourth overall, third in the demo. The CW's "America's Next Top Model" has been bucking its normal trends and going down as the final approaches, averaging 2.496 million viewers.
9 p.m. -- "Criminal Minds" kept CBS in first in the 9 p.m. hour with 14.29 million viewers, though the network fell to second in the demo with a 3.7 rating. ABC's "Modern Family" (12 million and a 4.7 demo) and "Cougar Town" (7.13 million and a 3.0 demo) combined for second overall and first in the demo. NBC was third overall with the 7.63 million viewers for "Law & Order: Special Victims," but fourth in the demo. FOX's "Hell's Kitchen" averaged 5.87 million viewers, down from its lead-in, but a solid 2.6 demo rating. The CW's "Hellcats" averaged 2.06 million viewers for fifth.
10 p.m. -- CBS' "The Defenders" averaged 9.37 million viewers to win the 10 p.m. hour overall. NBC's "Law & Order: Los Angeles" was second with 7.835 million and tied with CBS in the demo with a 1.9 rating. ABC's special celebrating People's Sexiest Man Alive drew only 4.16 million viewers and fell off at the half-hour.
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.