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CBS strong on Wednesday, too

'Defenders' takes 10 p.m.; ABC's 'Family' delivers

CBS continues to impress across the week this fall, racking up a victory in key demos on Wednesday behind “Survivor,” “Criminal Minds” and “The Defenders,” with the latter taking its hour among young adults for the first time. ABC’s “Modern Family” remained the night’s top show in demos.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “Survivor” dominated the 8 o’clock hour (3.7 rating/11 share in adults 18-49, 12.1 million viewers overall), in line with last week, while lead-out “Criminal Minds” also stayed steady (3.5/10 in 18-49, 13.0 million viewers overall) to place second in demos in the 9 o’clock hour and remain the evening’s most-watched program overall. The best news for CBS came at 10 p.m., where “The Defenders” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 9.9 million viewers overall) rose about 10% week to week to move ahead of NBC’s declining “Law and Order: Los Angeles” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall) and sweep the hour across the board.

For the night, CBS edged out Fox in 18-49 and won rather easily in both 25-54 and total viewers.

Fox relied on two hours of “Hell’s Kitchen,” which averaged a 2.8/8 in 18-49 and 6.3 million viewers overall against tough reality opponent “Survivor” at 8 and then building to a 3.4/9 in 18-49 and 7.3 million viewers overall in the 9 o’clock hour. The show tied ABC from 8-10 p.m. among adults 18-34 (2.8/9).

ABC opened with solid sophomore “The Middle” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 7.9 million viewers overall), dipped some with could-be-better/could-be-worse newcomer “Better With You” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall) and then mushrooming at 9 p.m. with “Modern Family” (4.7/13 in 18-49, 11.3 million viewers overall), which logged its second-best 18-49 score to date and stood as Wednesday’s No. 1 program in that category as well as both 12-34 (3.9/12) and 25-54 (5.2/13). It was followed by “Cougar Town” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall), which was up slightly with one of its best scores of calendar year 2010, and a special 10 p.m. “20/20” devoted to the rescue efforts in Chile (1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall), which ranked third among the broadcasters but was an improvement over last week’s delivery for low-rated rookie drama “The Whole Truth.”

At NBC, “Undercovers” continues to struggle at 8 p.m. but held steady week to week (1.5/4 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall). But the net’s “Law and Order” tandem of “SVU” at 9 p.m. (2.2/6 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall) and “Los Angeles” at 10 p.m. (1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall) declined noticeably week to week. “LOLA” came in up a tick in 18-49 vs. “The Jay Leno Show” in the timeslot a year ago.

CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall) edged up to season highs, while rookie drama “Hellcats” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.0 million viewers overall) was flat or down slightly week to week.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 3.2/9; Fox, 3.1/9; ABC, 2.7/8; Univision, 1.5/4; CW, 1.2/3.

In total viewers: CBS, 12.0 million; ABC, 7.6 million; NBC, 7.1 million; Fox, 6.8 million; Univision, 3.5 million; CW, 2.5 million.

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