‘Minds’ finds home

Eye drama finds comfy zone behind 'Lost'

It’s no match for “Lost,” but new CBS drama “Criminal Minds” has staked out a solid No. 2 position on Wednesday nights opposite the ABC megahit.

In its third week, “Criminal Minds” hit ratings highs even as “Lost” showed no signs of slowing. Wednesday also saw a nice start for ABC laffer “Freddie” and a spike for UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model.”

In the 9 o’clock hour, “Criminal Minds” averaged a 4.2 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 13.76 million viewers overall, placing second to ABC’s “Lost” (9.4/22, 21.66m), according to Nielsen.

Numbers repped a 27% week-to-week build in 18-49 for “Criminal” and the show’s best delivery in three Wednesday airings. It also racked up the highest 25-54 score with a regular program in the hour for CBS (5.4/12) since November 2003.

“Lost” was up week-to-week in demos and easily remained the night’s No. 1 show.

Also Wednesday, ABC comedy “Freddie” (first-place 4.2/11 in 18-49, 9.38m) grew from its “George Lopez” lead-in (first-place 3.4/10, 8.75m) with its series preem. Freddie Prinze Jr. starrer fared best among women 18-49 and 25-54, posting an 11 share in both.

UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 7.63m), no longer opposed by another unscripted series, was up 15% or more in various categories vs. last week. It placed second in adults 18-49 and 18-34 (3.1/10) and won the 8 o’clock hour in women 18-34 (5.0/14).

Also up at 8 were CBS comedies “Still Standing” (2.3/7, 7.48m) and “Yes, Dear” (3.0/8, 8.76m), but NBC drama “E-Ring” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 8.56m) lost a bit of demo steam, falling to fifth in 18-49.

In the night’s closing hour, CBS sophomore “CSI: NY” (5.3/14, 15.22m) beat out ABC’s “Invasion” (4.8/12, 11.58m) for a second straight week, with “NY” seeming to get a boost from “Criminal Minds.” The Alphabet drama looked healthier, up week-to-week and placing first in 18-34 (4.2/13, tied with baseball).

NBC’s “Law & Order” fell to fourth in the hour (3.5/9 in 18-49, 10.92m), behind the competing dramas and baseball on Fox. Net may be doing a bit better in the 9 o’clock hour with the move of “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” (2.6/6, 6.94m), but “L&O” seems to be suffering at 10 with its incompatible new lead-in.

In its second airing at 9, the WB’s “Related” (1.1/3, 2.55m) fell behind UPN’s “Veronica Mars” (1.3/3, 3.03m) — but those aren’t bad numbers for the Frog skein given its lead-in disadvantage coming out of “One Tree Hill” (1.4/4, 3.12m). The sisters drama tied “Veronica” in adults 18-34 (1.3/4).

ABC easily won the night, with CBS and Fox tied for second in 18-49.

Fox’s split-national coverage of baseball’s League Championship Series action (Astros-Cardinals in some markets, Angels-White Sox in others) averaged a 4.3/11 in 18-49 and 13.51 million viewers overall — down 23% from last year, when the Red Sox-Yankees contest juiced the Nielsens.

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