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‘Order’ restored on Wednesday

NBC crime franchise bounces back; CBS tops night

While ABC’s “Modern Family” and CBS’ “Criminal Minds” and “Survivor” were the top primetime performers on Wednesday, NBC had to be relieved to see its “Law and Order” duo rebound from season lows. The L.A.-set spinoff topped its drama competition in demos for the 10 p.m. hour.

CBS figures to win the night in 18-49 (and especially when all DVR playback is included), but Fox’s postseason baseball game could challenge the Eye in same-night 18-49 rating when Nielsen issues the nationals later today. The Eye also dominated among total viewers, averaging more than 12 million for the night.

According to preliminary affiliate-based Nielsen estimates for Wednesday, CBS led the way behind a winning performance by “Survivor” (3.5/11 in 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall), down a bit week to week, and “Criminal Minds” (3.6/10 in 18-49, 14.3 million viewers overall), which was up slightly to place second among adults 18-49 and first in both adults 25-54 (5.0/12) and total viewers. At 10 p.m., though, rookie comedic drama “The Defenders” dropped about 10% week to week (2.2/6 in 18-49, 10.0 million viewers overall).

“Defenders” fell behind NBC’s fourth week of “Law and Order: Los Angeles” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall), which built 26% week to week to return to its week-two level. Its ascension followed slight growth at 8 p.m. for first-year drama “Undercovers” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall) and moderate gains at 9 p.m. for “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall), which like the franchise’s new 10 p.m. drama, was off its game last week. For the night, NBC remained fourth in 18-49 but at least was on the upswing week to week.

Fox’s coverage of Game 4 of the National League Championship Series averaged a 2.7 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and 8.3 million viewers overall on Fox’s stations from 8 to 11 p.m., with those averages expected to rise by 10% or more in the nationals; the game earned a 23.3 household overnight rating in San Francisco and a 29.8 in Philadelphia. Heading into Wednesday’s action, Major League Baseball was averaging 7.7 million viewers for its seven combined games on Fox (NLCS) and TBS (American League Championship Series), up 12% year to year and the best at this point of the round in the four years that the two networks began sharing coverage of the League Championship Series.

At ABC, “The Middle” edged up at 8 (2.6/8 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall), while first-year comedy “Better With You” stayed flat (2.1/6 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall). “Modern Family” followed as the night’s No. 1 program in demos (4.7/13 in 18-49, 11.9 million viewers overall), on par with last week, and “Cougar Town” earned a solid-enough second-place finish in 18-49 at 9:30 p.m. (3.1/9 in 18-49, 7.5 million viewers overall), down a tad. The Alphabet then took a step back at 10 p.m. with “The Whole Truth” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall), which ran fourth among the English-language broadcasters in its hour.

CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall) was in line with last week, and was followed by a repeat of “Hellcats” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 3.1/9; Fox, 2.7/8; ABC, 2.5/7; NBC, 2.1/6; Univision, 1.8/5; CW, 1.0/3.

In total viewers: CBS, 12.1 million; Fox, 8.3 million; NBC, 7.5 million; ABC, 7.3 million; Univision, 4.2 million; CW, 2.3 million.

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