Gurpreet Singh Sarin

American Idol scored its lowest regular-season premiere numbers ever Wednesday.

The former ratings behemoth averaged 17.8 million viewers and a 6.0 in the adults 18-to-49 demographic for its Season 12 opener, down 19 percent from last year's 21.9 million and 7.4. Only the series premiere, which bowed in the summer of 2002, was lower. The drop-off, however, is less than the 24 percent erosion Season 11 suffered, and the premiere out-performed the show's closest singing-competition competitor, The Voice, which averaged 14.1 million and a 4.1 last season.

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ABC was second behind Fox, led by Modern Family, which snagged 11 million and a 4.3 for its birth episode, down four-tenths from last week.

CBS saw a season viewership high for Criminal Minds (12.5 million, 2.8), while CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (11.1 million, 2.3) rose a tenth.

8 p.m.
CBS:
NCIS (R) 8.3 million (1.1)
ABC: The Middle 8.2 million (2.3); The Neighbors 6.1 million (1.9)
NBC: Whitney (R) 2.7 million (0.8); Guys with Kids (R) 2.4 million (0.8)
Fox: American Idol 17.8 million (6.0) [8-10 p.m.]
CW: Arrow 3.1 million (1.1)

9 p.m.
CBS:
Criminal Minds 12.5 million (2.8)
ABC: Modern Family 11 million (4.3); Suburgatory 6.3 million (2.4)
NBC: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (R) 2.7 million (0.6)
CW: Supernatural 2.1 million (0.9)

10 p.m.
CBS:
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 11.1 million (2.3)
NBC: Chicago Fire (R) 3.4 million (1.0)
ABC: Nashville 6.5 million (2.2)