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TV auds continue to flock to familiar faves.

Similarly to Fox’s “Glee” one night earlier, ABC comedy “Modern Family” on Wednesday surged to series highs as it kicked off its second season — overshadowing the night’s four newcomers, none of which was a standout.

CBS comedic drama “The Defenders” and ABC comedy “Better With You” did well enough, but NBC’s “Undercovers” failed to excite young auds, and ABC’s “The Whole Truth” joins Fox’s Monday drama “Lone Star” as shows that appear to be in deep trouble after a single airing.

The Eye had it overall Wednesday, as “Survivor” dominated on its new night, and the net’s “Criminal Minds” remains potent in the middle hour.

Looking at the Nielsen estimates, which as always include same-night DVR playback, ABC’s Emmy-winning “Modern Family” was the night’s top demo draw with a series-high 5.1 rating/14 share in adults 18-49 — up 21% from last fall’s premiere — while drawing 12.67 million viewers overall. This is the best 18-49 perf in the slot for ABC in 19 months (“Lost”), and the last time an ABC half-hour comedy did a 5 rating in the demo was the night of the first “8 Simple Rules” episode following John Ritter’s death in 2003.

Unfortunately, the good times couldn’t continue as the net then fell off with the second-season preem of “Cougar Town” (3.4/9 in 18-49, 8.32m) and drifted further downward at 10 p.m. with a weak debut for legal drama “The Whole Truth” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 4.85m); “Truth” did half the demo rating of last year’s “Eastwick” (which did benefit from a stronger lead-in).

The Alphabet’s other new show, 8:30 p.m. family couples comedy “Better With You,” did OK (2.5/7 in 18-49, 7.86m), retaining nearly all of its lead-in from “The Middle” (2.7/9 in 18-49, 8.80m), which looked pretty good in its new leadoff spot — drawing its second best 18-49 score and its largest overall aud to date. Combined, “Middle” and “Better” improved upon last year’s “Hank”-“Middle” premiere pairing in week two of the season.

CBS, which won the night by 2 shares in adults 18-49 and 3 shares in 25-54, was strong with “Survivor” (4.0/12 in 18-49, 12.59m), which dominated the 8 o’clock hour and achieved seven-year timeslot highs for the net. It was followed by the potent “Criminal Minds” (4.0/11, 14.13m), which placed first or second in most categories and was the night’s most-watched show overall.

And at 10, new comedic legal drama “The Defenders” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 12.17m) placed second in demos and first in total viewers. It was down about 25% from last year’s “CSI: NY” premiere, but that CBS crime show didn’t face any competing law/crime dramas.

At NBC, “Undercovers” opened modestly (2.1/6 in 18-49, 8.70m), running fourth in demos during the 8 p.m. hour but looking healthier in total viewers, where it ranked second; it was down 9% in 18-49 vs. last year’s timeslot debut of “Mercy.”

And from 9 to 11, the two-hour season premiere of “Law and Order: SVU” was on a year-to-year rise (3.2/9 in 18-49, 10.08m), logging the net’s best regular-series score in the 9 o’clock hour in 20 months and then winning the 10 o’clock hour in demos. During its regular 9 p.m. hour, “SVU” closed the gap with its crime rival “Criminal Minds” in 18-49 (2.9 vs. 4.0 compared to last year’s 2.5 to 4.4).

Next week, “SVU” will lead into the premiere of “Law and Order: Los Angeles.”

Fox aired the two-hour season premiere of “Hell’s Kitchen” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 6.57m), which ran fourth from 8 to 10 but was up a tick vs. last year’s combo of “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Glee.”

And CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 2.82m) and “Hellcats” (1.0/3, 2.31m) held up well opposite the preems on other networks, with the latter performing much better (double in 18-34, 1.2 vs. 0.6) in the timeslot than last fall’s quickly yanked “The Beautiful Life.”