Reality dominated the broadcast landscape last night with four hours of original unscripted fare vs. 3 of first-run scripted programming. The penultimate episode of CBS’ Survivor: Nicaragua (3.5/11 in 18-49, 12.4 million viewers) was the top program in the adult demo for the night. It was down a tenth from last week while hitting a season high in total viewers. Criminal Minds (3.2/9) was down 9%, while The Defenders (2.0/6) was flat. CBS (2.9/8, 12.2 million) won the night in 18-49 and total viewers, with all of its series winning their time slots. But Defenders was tied in the demo with NBC’s rerun of Law & Order: SVU (2.0/6, 6.9 million), which is not a good sign as The Defenders would soon have to face SVU originals as the veteran NBC cop drama is shifting to 10 PM in midseason. There has been a lot of talk that CBS would move Defenders out of the Wednesday 10 PM time slot, possibly to Fridays, and last night’s performance would certainly further fuel that speculation.
NBC’s limited reality series The Sing-Off (2.9/8, 8.4 million) continues to do very well, up 7% from last Wednesday in 18-49 to post a season high for NBC in the 8-10 PM slot. (It was down 12% from Monday’s telecast.) The second hour of The Sing-Off edged the season finale of Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen (3/8 vs. 2.6/7). Fox’s Human Target (1.5/5) was down a tenth, while the Hell’s Kitchen‘s finale (2.6/7) was up 13% from last week but down 21% from the previous season finale in August. ABC and the CW aired all-repeats, with ABC’s Modern Family scoring the highest (2.1/6 & 2.0/6 in 18-49) for its back-to-back episodes at 9 PM and 9:30 PM.