‘Better Off Ted’ off to so-so start

ABC's new comedy doesn't soar on first night

ABC’s new laffer “Better Off Ted” got off to an OK start Wednesday in tandem with “Scrubs” in the 8 p.m. hour.

“Ted,” a high-concept laffer starring Jay Harrington and Portia de Rossi, bowed at 8:30 p.m. to a 2.2 rating/6 share in the adults 18-49 demo and 5.6 million viewers, according to prelim Nielsens. “Ted” held all of its demo lead-in from “Scrubs” (2.2/7, 5.8 mil) and came within a hair of CBS’ laffer “Gary Unmarried” (2.3/7, 7.6 mil) for the No. 2 rank the time slot behind Fox drama “Lie to Me” (3.1/9, 10 mil).

Fox, of course, dominated the night overall with the 9 p.m. installment of “American Idol,” which rang up an 8.4/21 in the key demo and 23.1 million viewers. ABC’s “Lost” put up a respectable 4.2/10 and 9.1 million viewers against the heat of “Idol.” CBS’ “Criminal Minds” (3.2/8, 13.5 mil) was competitive in the hour in viewers and ranked as the second most-watched program of the night.

CBS easily won the 10 p.m. battle with “CSI: NY” (3.3/9, 12.7 mil) dominating ABC’s “Life on Mars” (2.0/5, 5.3 mil) and NBC’s “Law & Order” (2.1/6, 7.1 mil). But for the night it was Fox all the way with an average of 5.7/16 in the demo and 16.6 million viewers. CBS nosed past ABC to rank a distant No. 2 in 18-49 (CBS’ 2.9/8 to ABC’s 2.8/8).

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