ABC’s seemingly risky tactic of starting from scratch on Wednesdays is paying off pretty well, with “Private Practice” asserting itself as the fall’s hottest rookie and “Pushing Daisies” continuing to show promise despite a falloff from its premiere.

Third leg of the Alphabet’s all-new night, “Dirty Sexy Money,” is hanging in there at 10, as is NBC’s 9 o’clock newcomer “Bionic Woman.” Not looking so hot on a busy night for first-year shows is CBS reality entry “Kid Nation,” which has lost 1 share point each week since its preem, and Fox comedy “Back to You,” which also continued to decline in its fourth week.

Also carving out solid auds are three nonscripted skeins: “Deal or No Deal” on NBC, “America’s Next Top Model” on the CW and the new “Kitchen Nightmares” on Fox.

According to Nielsen’s “live plus same-day” DVR playback estimates for Wednesday, ABC’s “Private Practice” (4.9 rating/13 share in adults 18-49, 12.42 million viewers overall) was up 9% in the demo week to week and won its hour by 3 shares over CBS’ “Criminal Minds” (3.9/10 in 18-49, 14.55m) and NBC’s “Bionic Woman” (3.9/10, 10.28m), with the latter easing by just 5% week to week after suffering a significant decline from episode one to two.

In an hour in which all three nets could be pleased with their drama performers, “Practice” is the decisive leader in 18-34 with a series-best 5.0/14; “Bionic” ruled in all male demos; and “Criminal” was just a tick out of the 25-54 lead behind “Private” and stood as the night’s most-watched program overall.

Also in the time period, Fox’s “Kitchen Nightmares” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 6.37m) was up for a second straight week, and CW’s “Gossip Girl” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 2.80m) was roughly flat, placing second in femmes 12-34 (3.1/8).

Opening the night, the second episode of ABC’s “Pushing Daisies” (3.7/11 in 18-49, 10.26m) was down 14% from its strong premiere, winning in all key ratings categories; it held up best among younger viewers, retaining 94% of its premiere-week 18-34 aud.

NBC’s “Deal or No Deal” moved up to second (3.1/9 in 18-49, 12.58m) with the net’s best delivery in the time period since last December. CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” also shined (2.5/7, 5.37m), placing second in 18-34 (rising 12% to 2.9/9) and first in persons 12-34 (3.0/10).

Heading in the other direction was CBS’ “Kid Nation” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 6.91m), which finished fifth in the time period among young adults. With “Jericho” on the bench for midseason, the Eye must at least be considering a shift that would return the back-from-the-dead drama to its old timeslot.

Fox’s “Back to You” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 6.62m) was down a tick week to week and placed third in 18-49.

At 10 o’clock, CBS’ “CSI: NY” (4.1/11 in 18-49, 13.43m) hit a season high and opened up a wider gap on its rookie drama competish, as both ABC’s “Dirty Sexy Money” (3.3/9, 8.64m) and NBC’s “Life” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) were down a bit vs. their second episodes.

ABC won the night in 18-49, 25-54 and 12-34 while CBS won in total viewers.