Television viewers were feeling a little bit — or, rather, a lot — country Wednesday night, as the 45th Annual Country Music Association Awards easily took the night, handing ABC an overall victory, according to preliminary numbers.
The CMA Awards, on ABC from 8 to 11, inched up 2 percent over last year's ceremony for a 4.8 rating/12 score in the adults 18-49 demographic, with 16.3 million total viewers, which made ABC both the top-rated and most-watched network of the night.
The good news for CMA made it bad news for nearly everyone else. Notably "Law & Order: SVU" — which experienced a cast shake-up this season with the departure of male lead Christopher Meloni — closed the night on a grim note for the network, slipping 5 percent to a 1.9/5 in the demo, with 6.6 million total viewers. That made it the series' worst night ever.
Similarly, things were hardly jubilant at CBS, which experienced dips throughout the night, starting with "Survivor," which dropped 14 percent from last week to tie its season low with a 3.1/9 in the demo and 10.6 million total viewers. "Criminal Minds" the following hour was also down, slipping 8 percent to a 3.4/8 in the demo, which is a season low for the series, and 11.2 million total viewers.
The network closed out with "CSI," which slid 7 percent for a 2.5/7 in the demo, its worst performance ever for a fall telecast, and 10 million total viewers.
Against competition from the music-oriented CMAs, Fox's "The X Factor" from 8 to 10 slipped 8 percent in the demo for a 3.7/10, drawing an average 10.1 million total viewers.
NBC aired "Up All Night" at 8, which was flat with last week for a 1.2/3 in the demo and 4.7 million total viewers, followed by an "Up All Night" repeat at 8:30. The network received some good news with "Harry's Law" at 9, which rebounded from last week's series low, climbing 18 percent to a 1.3/3 in the demo and 7 million total viewers.
On the cable front, the premiere of "Vietnam in HD" at 9 on Tuesday drew 2.1 million total viewers, and grew 20 percent versus the same time period last year.