Now it’s a fight. Fox’s American Idol (15.9 million viewers, 5.1 adults 18-49 rating) slipped 16 percent in the ratings Wednesday night, finishing firmly lower in the adult demographic than Monday’s episode of NBC’s The Voice (16 million, 6.0). Though Idol will likely improve a 10th or so in the national ratings, last night’s episode won’t overtake NBC’s show earlier this week. Fox still has a shot of keeping Idol on top of the weekly TV series charts, however, when another episode of Idol airs tonight. (ABC’s Oscars telecast on Sunday is expected to win the week overall.)
If Voice beats both Idols for the week, it wouldn’t be unprecedented. But the first couple weeks of The Voice season 2, premiering out of the NBC’s mega-rated Super Bowl coverage, wasn’t really an apples-to-apples comparison to Idol, which had already been on the air for several weeks. Now things have settled down and the shows are proving to be extremely competitive. Last week, The Voice came within a 10th of a rating point of toppling Idol on the charts and this week it’s poised to win.
The landscape could shift again after The Voice finishes its chair-spinning audition phase and gets into the less-hypnotic battle rounds. One could argue The Voice is in the most popular phase of its competition while Idol is in one of its weakest (revealing the Top 24).
Overall: Fox won Wednesday night. CBS was second with Survivor (10.3 million, 2.8) down 10 percent from its premiere. Criminal Minds (12.7 million, 3.1) was steady and CSI (11.8 million, 2.8) climbed for the second week in a row (this time likely due to ABC not airing Revenge). ABC ran a fairly steady The Middle (7.5 million, 2.3), Suburgatory (6.8 million, 2.3), Modern Family (11.5 million, 4.7), and Happy Endings (5.7 million, 2.5), followed by 20/20 (4.8 million, 1.4).
Now NBC snuck into this Wednesday ratings story as a victor due to Monday’s episode of The Voice, which is quite the trick. But I gotta point out the Peacock’s Wednesday performance was pretty miserable: Whitney (4.1 million, 1.5) down 12 percent, Are You There, Chelsea? (3.4 million, 1.3) down 7 percent, Rock Center (2.7 million, 0.6) down 14 percent, and a series low Law & Order: SVU (5.9 million, 1.6) down 6 percent. Seriously, Rock Center was beaten by The CW’s One Tree Hill (1.4 million, 0.7).