'Modern'-led comedy block lifts ABC to demo victory

One week before the return of Fox juggernaut ”American Idol,” it was ABC that prevailed in key demos Wednesday night. NBC saw a fairly good start for its new Wednesday comedy block, with ”Whitney” leading into the debut of ”Are You There, Chelsea?”

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, former Thursday comedy ”Whitney” opened on its new night for NBC with a second-place 2.1 rating/6 share in adults 18-49 and 6.1 million viewers overall , topping the delivery of the last five episodes of ”Up All Night” to air in Wednesday’s opening half-hour. It was followed by the premiere of ”Are You There, Chelsea?” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall), which built on ”Whitney”; also placing second in its timeslot, ”Chelsea” gave the Peacock its best performance of the season in the time period.

NBC also had a better showing with its Wednesday dramas, as ”Harry’s Law” hit a season high at 9 (1.4/3 in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall), and ”Law and Order: SVU” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall) was on the high end as well; the net seemed to take advantage of CBS resting its dramas for the ”People’s Choice Awards.” Overall, NBC enjoyed its highest-rated Wednesday of the season.

At ABC, ”The Middle” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall) and ”Suburgatory” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 9.0 million viewers overall) seemed unaffected by the stepped-up comedy competition on NBC, with each show winning their half-hours and matching their scores of last week. The net’s comedy anchor, ”Modern Family,” took a surprising week-to-week drop of about 10% (5.1/13 in 18-49, 12.3 million viewers overall) but remained easily the night’s No. 1 show in demos. And down a tick each were 9:30 p.m. comedy ”Happy Endings” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 7.1 million viewers overall) and 10 p.m. drama ”Revenge” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 7.5 million viewers overall), with both finishing on top in 18-49. In fact, ABC swept all six half-hours on the night in the key demo.

CBS went with a repeat of ”Criminal Minds” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 8.9 million viewers overall) into the ”38th Annual People’s Choice Awards” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 8.9 million viewers overall), which was down a bit vs. last year , placing second in demos and first in total viewers. And Fox struggled with a repeat ”Mobbed” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall) followed by an original episode (1.3/3 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall).

At CW, ”One Tree Hill” kicked off its ninth and final season with solid numbers (0.9/2 in 18-49, 1.7 million viewers overall), delivering the net its best showing among adults 18-34 (1.2/4) and women 18-34 (1.8/5) since last March. The net will bow reality show ”Remodeled” in the 9 o’clock hour next week.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 3.2/8; CBS, 2.3/6; NBC, 1.9/5; Univision, 1.4/4; Fox, 1.1/3; CW, 0.6/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 8.9 million; ABC, 8.8 million; NBC, 7.8 million; Univision, 3.1 million; Fox, 3.0 million; CW, 1.3 million.

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