'Survivor' halts ratings drops: Premiere up vs. 'Idol'

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The 28th premiere of CBS’ Survivor posted a rare increase in the ratings Wednesday night.

The two-hour Cagayan opener managed to climb a tenth of a point among adults 18-49 compared to last February’s launch. Survivor had 9.8 million viewers and a 2.5 ratings while going head-to-head against Fox’s two-hour American Idol (10.6 million viewers, 2.6), which just barely took the lead in these preliminary ratings.

Last year Survivor dropped 23 percent to its lowest opener ever, so last night represented a solid brake-hit on the show’s typical erosion, which has only seen a couple semi-annual cycles over the last three years post a gain (can I claim some credit for CBS taking my advice last year to stop changing Survivor‘s official title in the digital program guides each round, which forced fans to re-commit their DVRs every cycle? Though as fans point out below, no returning players might have helped, too). Be sure to check out Dalton Ross’ recap of the rather exciting Survivor premiere and his interview with host Jeff Probst.

Also last night, ABC debuted its new comedy Mixology to mixed results — 5.2 million viewers and a 1.8 rating following Modern Family. Wait, that’s trying too hard for the pun. It’s not mixed results, it’s pretty-bad results. The rest of ABC’s block posted declines (chart below), with Middle, Suburgatory and Modern Family all at least tying season lows. On NBC, that Law & Order: SVU and Chicago PD character crossover paid off — this is the best rating of the season for the freshman PD series (though CBS’ Survivor-fueled Criminal Minds special claimed the 10 p.m. hour). Fox’s Idol was steady. The CW’s Arrow was flat and Tomorrow People was up a tenth. Full chart:

NET/TIME/SHOW  18-49  VIEWERS (+000)
FOX 8-10P AM IDOL 2.6 10,638
ABC 8:00P MIDDLE- 1.8 7,113
8:30P SUBURGATRY- 1.5 5,298
9:00P MODRN FMLY- 3.1 8,568
9:30P MIXOLOGY- P 1.8 5,223
10-11P NASHVILLE- 1.2 4,723
CBS 8-10P SURVIVOR- P 2.5 9,778
10-11P CRMNL-minds S 2.3 9,502
NBC 8-9P REVOLUTION- 1.3 4,588
9-10P LAW&O:SVU- 2.0 7,702
10-11P CHICAGO PD- 2.2 8,025
CW 8-9P ARROW- 0.9 2,456
9-10P TOMORRW PPL- 0.5 1,506

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