TV Ratings: Solid ‘Survivor,’ ‘Suspect Behavior’ premieres, but ‘American Idol’ rules Wednesday

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, February 16, 2011.
A two-hour installment “American Idol” loomed over Wednesday night, crushing everything in its path. But despite fears to the contrary, “Survivor: Redemption Island” still mustered a decent enough premiere against the “Idol” onslaught, while “Criminal Minds” held onto enough viewers to help boost the debut of its spinoff for CBS.
For the night, FOX averaged an 8.1 rating among adults 18-49, easily tops in the key demographic. CBS was second with a 3.2 rating, beating ABC’s 2.3 rating and NBC’s 1.4 rating. The CW trailed with a barely-there 0.3 rating.
Overall, FOX pulled in 22.84 million viewers to go with a 12.7 rating/20 share. CBS was a distant, but solid, second with a 7.4/12 and 12.3 million viewers. ABC’s 4.1/7 and 6.67 million viewers and NBC’s 3.0/5 and 4.85 million viewers followed. The CW’s 0.6/1 and 1.06 million viewers trailed.
8 p.m. – “American Idol” began primetime in first with 20.7 million viewers and a 7.2 rating among adults 18-49, numbers that were significantly lower than what “Idol” did in the 8 p.m. hour last week. CBS was second with the 11.17 million viewers and 3.2 demo rating for the “Survivor: Redemption Island” premiere. Yes, that was over a million viewers down from the show’s  Wednesday fall premiere, but it still crushed every non-“Idol” offering, including the 6.91 million viewers and 2.0 demo rating for ABC’s “The Middle” and “Better with You.” NBC’s “Minute to Win It” averaged 3.84 million viewers and at least beat the 1.32 million viewers for a CW repeat of “Nikita.”
9 p.m. – The second hour of “American Idol” went up to 24.98 million viewers and a 9.0 demo rating for FOX. CBS’ “Criminal Minds” averaged 12.83 million viewers and a 3.2 demo, both down significantly from last week’s “Idol”-free airing. ABC was third overall and second in the demo with “Modern Family” (10.54 million viewers and a 4.3 demo rating) and “Mr. Sunshine” (7.01 million viewers and a 2.6 demo), which plummeted from its first airing. NBC’s “Minute to Win It” averaged 3.445 million viewers, again enough to beat the 794,000 for a “Vampire Diaries” repeat on The CW.
10 p.m. – “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” averaged 12.91 million viewers and a 3.3 demo rating, maintaining both its lead-in and most of its audience in its second half-hour for CBS. That also represents a big time period boost, particularly in the key demo, over what “The Defenders” and “Blue Bloods” did in the slot. The spinoff took a bite out of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” which slipped to 7.25 million viewers and a 2.2 demo rating. Hurt even worse was ABC’s “Off the Map,” down to 4.325 million viewers and a 1.5 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.