'Money,' 'Practice' help with ratings victory

Wednesday looks to be the night that it’s happening for the broadcast nets this fall, as another midweek drama — ABC’s critically adored “Pushing Daisies” — has launched to promising numbers.

There was something of a reversal, meanwhile, for the shows that bowed strongly on the night last week. NBC’s “Bionic Woman” lost more than one-fourth of its premiere aud, while ABC’s “Private Practice” saw slimmer losses and looks to be the choice of young adults in the time period. But CBS vet “Criminal Minds” moved up to reclaim its status as the hour’s top draw in total viewers.

At 10 o’clock, the Eye’s “CSI: NY” moved to its customary leadership position, but ABC’s “Dirty Sexy Money” held up nicely in its second try. “Dirty” moved up to second as NBC’s “Life” dropped by 25%, nearly as much as its lead-in.

Overall, according to “live plus same day” DVR estimates from Nielsen, ABC won the second Wednesday of the season among adults 18-49 (4.2/11), comfortably ahead of CBS (3.4/9) and NBC (3.3/9). The Alphabet also narrowly led in total viewers (11.7 million to 11.6 million for CBS).

“Pushing Daisies,” from Warner Bros. Television, averaged a 4.3 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 13.03 million viewers overall — the strongest bow for any show premiering in the 8 o’clock hour this fall and the third best overall, behind just “Bionic Woman” (5.7/14 in the demo) and “Private Practice” (5.2/13). While dominating female categories, it also won in most key male demos.

Its numbers are also the strongest for any show on any net bowing in Wednesday’s leadoff hour since ABC’s “Lost” in September 2004.

“Pushing Daisies,” which garnered the best reviews for any new broadcast series this fall, seemed to have an effect on the other rookie shows in the hour, as Fox’s “Back to You” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 6.58m) and CBS’ “Kid Nation” (2.4/7, 7.43m) slid further in their third weeks. NBC’s “Deal or No Deal” (2.8/8 in 18-49, 11.17m) and Fox’s “‘Til Death” (2.5/7, 6.19m) were both up a tick.

In the crowded 9 o’clock hour, ABC’s “Private Practice” (4.5/11 in 18-49, 12.45m) prevailed in key demos despite losing 13% of its premiere week audience.

Its dropoff was nothing compared with that of NBC’s “Bionic Woman” (4.1/10 in 18-49, 11.07m), which shed 28% of its opening-night demo rating. Moving up was CBS’ “Criminal Minds” (3.8/10 in 18-49, 14.56m), which was the night’s most-watched program overall with the final episode featuring Mandy Patinkin.

And with those dramas settling in, Fox’s “Kitchen Nightmares” emerged with a nice 16% week-to-week gain (2.9/7, 6.22m), while CW’s young-skewing “Gossip Girl” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.75m) was up a tick in several demos.

The 10 o’clock drama showdown went to CBS vet “CSI: NY” (3.9/10 in 18-49, 12.69m), reclaiming the hour in 18-49 one week after NBC’s “Life” opened surprisingly strong. In its second try, “Life” slid to third place (3.0/8 in 18-49, 8.68m), while ABC’s similarly new “Dirty Sexy Money” (3.5/10 in 18-49, 9.61m) dipped just 3% and moved up to second.

In the same hour, Bravo’s finale of “Top Chef 3: Miami” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 3.08m) stood as cable’s top entertainment telecast of the night.

Despite NBC’s drama declines from 9 to 11, it was the only network to show year-to-year increases for the night, rising 22% in adults 18-49 vs. a year ago when it aired “Biggest Loser” and drama “Kidnapped.”

First-place ABC and fourth-place Fox were both on par with the same night a year ago, while second-place CBS dropped by 33% (when it had “Jericho” leading off the night) and CW slid by 15% (when it had “One Tree Hill”).

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