'Justice' no wow in bow

Fox’s “Justice” opened to respectable numbers Wednesday night despite not much help from its “Bones” lead-in.

The net hasn’t exactly lit things up with its early-fall premieres in August, and the Jerry Bruckheimer legal skein is the third show — following drama “Vanished” and music competition series “Celebrity Duets” — to bow to ratings in the OK range.

Fox was hoping to get a jump on the competish and allow some skeins to air five times or more before baseball preemptions begin in October, but it has been reminded how difficult it can be to get young adults to the set prior to Labor Day.

According to Nielsen nationals, “Justice” averaged a 2.9 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and 8.86 million viewers overall, winning the 9 o’clock hour in key demos opposite mostly repeats on the competish. It’s certainly a step up from last year’s short-lived “Head Cases,” which bowed in the hour in mid-September with a 2.3 demo rating.

“Justice” built by 7% in 18-49 rating on its lead-in from “Bones” (2.7/9 in 18-49, 8.61 million viewers overall). Its crime competish, CBS drama “Criminal Minds,” hit a summer high with its repeat (2.5/7, 9.01m), just 1 share behind “Justice” in 18-49 and the leader in total viewers.

“Bones,” which matched its lowest firstrun score to date, was in a virtual tie during the 8 o’clock hour in key demos with CBS unscripted series “Rock Star” (2.8/9, 6.44m), which hit some season highs for its results show.

The forensics drama “Bones” was a solid player in its initial season a year ago, but it may not have the kind of loyal following needed to get audiences to the set so early on a summer night.

Fox will have a clearer picture of its three new series in coming weeks as viewing levels rise and the other broadcast nets roll out their fresh fare.

On Tuesday, a special two-hour preview of “Celebrity Duets” averaged a 3.1/9 in 18-49 and 8.36 million viewers overall for Fox. It was on par in 18-49 with the CBS combo of “Big Brother” and “Rock Star.”

“Duets” will regularly air Thursdays and Fridays at 9 in September.

Meanwhile, Bravo’s “Project Runway” continues to shine (1.8/5 in 18-49, 3.40m), Wednesday matching its season high in 18-49 and doubling the next best cable performer on the night in the demo.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more