Wednesday featured a few goodbyes (so long, Masterchef and Big Brother 12) and a couple of hellos (welcome to your new night, Survivor!) but it was the finale of America’s Got Talent that helped NBC win the night among total viewers. NBC averaged 14.3 million, besting CBS at 9.26 million. But both networks ended up tying for first place among the important adults 18-49 demographic, according to fast national results from Nielsen.
Let’s start with NBC. America’s Got Talent owned the 8-10 p.m. timeslot in viewers, but didn’t start to show strength across the key demographics until it came time to declare the winner during the second hour. The finale was up 32 percent versus last week’s performance among adults 18-49 and up 6 percent versus last year’s finale on Sept. 16. Unfortunately, the strength of the annual talent show didn’t do much for the debut of the Jimmy Smits starrer Outlaw: The drama only averaged a 2.4/7 among adults 18-49 and was down 31 percent from the Thursday premiere of The Jay Leno Show last Sept. 16. Ouch. Still, it was up 4 percent from last season’s Mercy debut and 9 percent from last season’s Trauma debut — and, at 10.85 million, it won its time slot in viewers, so the news wasn’t all that bad for NBC’s new drama.
On CBS, the return of Survivor (with Jimmy Johnson!) was up 8 percent from the Samoa premiere on Sept. 17, 2009 in adults 18-49 but down 13 percent from the Heroes vs. Villains debut on Feb. 11. It averaged 11.95 million and came in second to the first hour of Talent. The Big Brother finale was up 7 percent from last week in adults and up 4 percent from last year’s finale on Sept. 15. It averaged 7.88 million viewers.
On Fox, Masterchef wrapped the summer as the No. 1 new series among adults 18-49. The two-hour finale averaged 4.73 million viewers. ABC ran comedy repeats.