FOX's coverage of the National League Championship Series drew a bigger overall audience than the network's normal airings of "Hell's Kitchen," but it drew a smaller demo audience. No matter how those numbers laid out, though, FOX still couldn't top CBS' regular lineup on Wednesday.
In other notable ratings news, "Law & Order: Los Angeles" got a big, difficult-to-explain bump from last week, reversing the show's negative post-premiere course.
Among adults 18-49, CBS averaged a 3.1 rating for the night, topping FOX's 2.6 rating in the key demographic. ABC's 2.5 rating was a close third, with NBC's 2.1 rating following. The CW was fifth with a 1.0 rating.
Overall, CBS averaged an estimated 12.1 million viewers to go with a 7.3 rating/12 share. FOX was second with 8.32 million viewers and a 5.1/8, which held off the 4.9/8 and 7.48 million viewers for NBC and ABC's 4.6/8 and 7.34 million viewers. The CW's 1.5/2 and 2.31 million viewers finished fifth.
8 p.m. -- "Survivor: Nicaragua" controlled the 8 p.m. hour for CBS with an estimated 12 million viewers and a 3.5 demo rating, both slightly off from last week. FOX's baseball was second with 8.66 million viewers and a 2.7 demo rating. ABC's "The Middle" and "Better with You" were up from last week in viewers with 7.75 million and steady in the demo. NBC's "Undercovers" averaged 5.87 million viewers and a 1.5 demo rating, essentially flat from last week. The CW's "America's Next Top Model" averaged 3.034 million viewers and couldn't quite equal "Undercovers" in the demo.
9 p.m. -- CBS stayed in first in the 9 p.m. hour with the 14.3 million viewers for "Criminal Minds," to go with a 3.6 demo rating, both up from last week. ABC's "Modern Family" (11.92 million and a 4.7 demo rating) and "Cougar Town" (7.49 million and a 3.1 demo) won the hour in the demo and were second in viewers. NBC finished third with the 8.52 million viewers for "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," which topped the 7.98 million viewers for the Giants and Phillies on FOX. The CW's repeat of "Hellcats" was fifth.
10 p.m. -- "The Defenders" won the 10 p.m. hour overall for CBS with 10 million viewers, but finished second with a 2.2 demo rating. NBC's "Law & Order: Los Angeles" was second overall with 8.05 million viewers and won the demo with a 2.4 rating, up 0.5 ratings points from last week. ABC's "The Whole Truth" returned after a one-week absence with 4.56 million viewers and a 1.4 demo rating.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change, particularly in the case of live events.
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.