World Series down, still a winner; CBS slips

Halloween-themed comedies tend to see a bump in ratings, and ABC’s rising Wednesday laffer sked did just that in matching or setting season highs. Fox’s coverage of the World Series won the night but was down year to year, and seemed to have impacted CBS’ male-friendly lineup.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, ABC’s four comedies performed at roughly the same level as their season premieres, rising collectively by 10% week to week. “The Middle” (2.8/9 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall) opened the night with a season-high demo score and a series-best total-viewer count, and first-year entry “Better With You” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 7.8 million viewers overall) matched its previous high set with its premiere on Sept. 22. The net then shot up at 9 with “Modern Family” (5.1/13 in 18-49, 13.1 million viewers overall), which matched its season premiere demo delivery and was the night’s No. 1 program in 18-49 and 25-54 while logging its largest overall audience to date. “Cougar Town” was also up at 9:30 (3.3/9 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall), coming within a tick of its season high on premiere night, but ABC’s woes in the 10 p.m. hour continued with “The Whole Truth” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall), which was off slightly week to week.

Despite its low score at 10, ABC posted its highest 18-49 average on the opening night of the World Series in three years (2.7/8).

At Fox, Game 1 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers averaged a 4.3 rating/12 share in adults 18-49 and 13.4 million viewers overall on Fox’s stations from 8 to 11 p.m., with its scores expected to rise in the nationals. Last year’s Game 1 opener between the big-draw New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies did a 6.3 in the demo and 19.5 million viewers overall.

CBS, the usual leader on the night, was down week to week with its lineup of “Survivor” (3.4/10 in 18-49, 11.6 million viewers overall), “Criminal Minds” (3.4/9 in 18-49, 13.9 million viewers overall) and “The Defenders” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 9.9 million viewers overall). The declines for the dramas are a bit surprising due to NBC’s competing crime hours airing in repeat, but they may be attributable to the World Series competition.

The Peacock punted opposite the World Series, airing only an original seg of struggling rookie “Undercovers” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall), which was down a tick week to week. It then aired repeats of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall) and “Law and Order: Los Angeles” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall).

At CW, “America’s Next Top Model” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall) was in line with last week, while first-year drama “Hellcats” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall) was up some in key demos vs. its most recent original episode. (Note that due to a preemption for basketball in Chicago, the net’s numbers are subject to revision in the nationals.)

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 4.3/12; CBS, 3.0/8; ABC, 2.7/8; Univision, 1.8/5; NBC, 1.3/4; CW, 1.1/3.

In total viewers: Fox, 14.5 million; CBS, 11.8 million; ABC, 7.9 million; NBC, 4.9 million; Univision, 4.3 million; CW, 2.5 million.

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