Ratings: ‘America’s Got Talent’ Surges and Sweeps the Night

NBC’s variety competition grabs its highest ratings since series premiere; Fox’s “MasterChef” cooks up a 17 percent increase over last week

NBC grabbed the top two slots on Tuesday night, as "America's Got Talent" surged to its second-highest ratings ever and the preceding auditions episode snagged the No. 2 spot of the night, according to preliminary numbers.

The 9 p.m., two-hour episode of "Talent" snagged a 4.5 rating/12 share in the adults 18-49 demo, surging 36 percent over last week's episode and falling short only of the series' 2006 debut, while grabbing 15.5 million total viewers. The auditions episode the preceding hour received a 3.4/11 in the demo and 12.2 million total viewers.

Following a repeat of "Kitchen Nightmares" at 8, Fox aired a new episode of "MasterChef" at 9, which was up 17 percent from last Tuesday's episode with a 2.1/6 in the demo and 4.7 million total viewers.

ABC ran a "Wipeout" repeat at 8, followed the next hour by the new "101 Ways to Leave a Game Show," which was flat with last week's episode with a 1.9/5 in the demo and 4.8 million total viewers. "Combat Hospital" closed out the evening for the network at 10. It was also flat compared to the previous week with a 1.1/3 and 4.3 million total viewers.

CBS ran repeats throughout the evening, save for the topical "48 Hours Mystery" special, "Casey Anthony: Final Judgment" at 10, which drew a 1.2/3 and 5.5 million total viewers.