Slot wide open as 'LOLA,' 'Defenders' decline

NBC’s “Law and Order: Los Angeles” lost one-fourth of its premiere audience in its second outing Wednesday, but still won among young adults in the 10 o’clock hour over fellow rookie dramas on ABC and CBS. ABC’s “Modern Family” and CBS’ “Survivor” and “Criminal Minds” were the night’s top draws in key categories.

CBS won the night in 18-49 (tied with Fox), 25-54 and total viewers.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “Law and Order: Los Angeles” averaged a 2.4 rating/7 share in adults 18-49 and 8.2 million viewers overall in leading the broadcast networks in 18-49 at 10 p.m. — retaining just about all of its lead-in from “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall) but tumbling 25% from its premiere demo score (3.2). Still, that was enough to beat out CBS’ “The Defenders” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall), which declined 16% from the 2.5 rating it had logged with its first two airings, and ABC’s “The Whole Truth” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall), which was up slightly week to week but remains at a low level. “Defenders” won the hour in adults 25-54 and total viewers.

The night’s opening hour went to CBS’ “Survivor” (3.6/11 in 18-49, 11.8 million viewers overall), which has settled into a ratings range that provides the net with a roughly 75% gain over what it was doing a year ago with comedies. It was followed by Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and ABC comedies “The Middle” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall) and “Better With You” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall), which were in line with last week and up vs. the net’s comedies of a year ago. NBC’s “Undercovers” continues to struggle in the hour, dipping another tick in its third week (1.5/4 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall).

At 9, ABC’s “Modern Family” (4.5/12 in 18-49, 11.3 million viewers overall) again emerged as the night’s No. 1 show in 18-49 — rising more than 30% from last year — and “Cougar Town” edged up (3.1/8 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall) one week after looking especially shaky and holding just 61% of its lead-in. CBS’ “Criminal Minds” remained steady (3.5/9 in 18-49, 13.7 million viewers overall), winning the hour in 25-54 and ruling as the night’s most-watched program overall. It was followed in the demo by Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and NBC’s “Law and Order: SVU,” which was down a few ticks vs. last week.

Fox earned a first-place tie with CBS in 18-49 on the night thanks to back-to-back episodes of “Hell’s Kitchen” at 8 (second-place 2.9/9 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall) and 9 (third-place 3.3/9 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall). The net was up both week to week and vs. the same night a year ago when it aired “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Glee.”

CW remained steady with “America’s Next Top Model” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall) and “Hellcats” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall), with the former retaining nearly all of its “Model” lead-in among persons 12-34 (1.2 vs. 1.3).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS and Fox, 3.1/9; ABC, 2.5/7; NBC, 2.1/6; Univision, 1.6/5; CW, 1.1/3.

In total viewers: CBS, 11.6 million; NBC, 7.7 million; ABC, 7.1 million; Fox, 6.6 million; Univision, 4.0 million; CW, 2.5 million.

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