Interest is growing in American Idol as crunch time approaches. Wednesday's 90-minute performance show, in which the Lady Gaga-mentored final four performed the songs of Leiber and Stoller, averaged 22.37 million viewers and notched a 6.9 rating among 18-to-49-year-olds.
That's up 5 percent from last week in the demo and 1 percent from the comparable year-earlier program (which jumped some 17 percent in viewership from 19.2 million).
Read our American Idol recap
Breaking In reached its usual plateau, 7.66 million — though, of course, that means losing a whopping two-thirds of Idol's large audience. And that was breaking bad for Fox network execs.
Throughout the night, ABC's comedy lineup was up, and Better With You offered its best argument for renewal by increasing its demo rating by 19 percent.
Fall 2011 TV Scorecard: Which shows are returning? Which aren't?
In prime time's first hour, CBS' Survivor: Redemption Island lured 10.44 million people vs. ABC's The Middle (7.16 million viewers at 8/7c) and Better With You (5.96 million at 8:30), NBC's Minute to Win It (3.05 million) and a repeat of the CW's America's Next Top Model (1.23 million).
At 9/8c, Criminal Minds attracted 13.08 million viewers. Modern Family on ABC had a viewership of 10.11 million, followed by a new Cougar Town at 9:30 with 6.14 million. A Minute rerun had 3.54 million, while a fresh Model lured 1.97 million.
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CBS' Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior took the last hour of prime time in total viewership, getting 9.08 million compared with 7.96 million for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (the hour's demo winner with a 2.4 rating) and 3.86 million for two half-hours of Happy Endings.