Ratings: Kiefer's Touch Stirs Up Good Numbers, Marg's CSI Goodbye Scores Season Highs

Kiefer Sutherland’s return to TV and Marg Helgenberger’s goodbye both drew good crowds on Wednesday.

Fox’s Touch, which sneak-previewed last night ahead of its official March 19 debut, touched 11.9 million total viewers in its plum aprés-Idol slot, making it the second most-watched drama premiere of this TV season, trailing only ABC’s Once Upon a Time (which opened to 12.8 mil with a 4.0 demo rating).

While it would have been thematically apropros for Touch to score a “3.18” rating, the freshman series in fact did a 3.9 coming out of Idol (which played to 19.5 million viewers and a 6.4 rating), falling just a tenth behind the Once premiere on that front. We’ll see if Touch gets goosed up to claim a tie (or even the lead) when the final numbers come in later.

Fox notes that Touch’s 61-percent demo retention out of Idol was greater than that of either the Human Target (34%) or Lie to Me (50%) premieres, Fringe‘s first post-Idol airing (51%), or Glee‘s 2009 preview (45%).

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Also for comparison’s sake, Fox’s Alcatraz opened with 10 mil/3.3, while Terra Nova‘s premiere netted 9.1 mil/3.1.

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Capping the night for CBS, Marg Helgenberger’s final appearance as a CSI regular drew north of 14 million total viewers and a 3.3 rating, surging 17 percent week-to-week to deliver season highs on both counts.

Elsewhere on the night….

* American Idol‘s demo rating was down 9 percent from its Season 11 average-to-date.

* NBC’s Whitney (4.5 mil/1.4) was down 12 percent in the demo, while Are You There, Chelsea? (3.9 mil/1.4) dropped another 18 percent.

* One Tree Hill held steady at 1.47 mil/0.7.

* Criminal Minds‘ 150th episode delivered 13.7 million total viewers and a 3.6 rating, up 5 and 13 percent.