×

‘Modern Family’ Loses Steam, ‘SVU’ Opens Strong Wednesday

ABC comedy still tops for the night; 'Revolution,' 'Nashville' down in kicking off second seasons

NBC’s nice start to the season continued Wednesday when it relaunched “Revolution” on its new night to time-period improvement and used an expanded episode of “Law & Order: SVU” to close strong. ABC won in young adults behind “Modern Family,” which was the dominant program of the night in demos but came in noticeably softer than last year.

The Alphabet’s new comedy “Back in the Game” — Wednesday’s only series premiere — did reasonably well between “The Middle” and “Modern Family,” while the net’s “Nashville” had a good-enough return opposite tougher than usual drama competition but was down from last year.

CBS’ veteran lineup of “Survivor,” “Criminal Minds” and “CSI” was off its year-ago pace, though the net still prevailed in total viewers. And though Fox’s “The X Factor” continues to be down from last year, it perked up to a season high in its third week.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Modern Family” averaged a 4.1 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 and 11.4 million viewers overall to stand as easily the night’s top broadcast show in 18-49 and 25-54 while also finishing narrowly on top in total viewers. Still, it was down about 25% from its year-ago half-hour premiere.

Earlier, “The Middle” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 8.8 million viewers overall) similarly lost steam for the Alphabet, off about 15% from its opening half-hour of last year. And newbie “Back in the Game” followed with a 2.2/7 in 18-49 and 7.9 million viewers overall, a solid hold of its lead-in and competitive in its timeslot in 18-49.

“Back in the Game” outperformed every episode of “The Neighbors,” “Suburgatory” and “Family Tools” to air Wednesdays at 8:30 last year for ABC.

Closing the night for ABC, the second-season premiere of “Nashville” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall) was off 25% from its season premiere of last fall (2.8) but finished above its season finale from May (a 1.9 in the demo).

Fox’s “The X Factor” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall) grew 14% above its opening two Wednesdays of the season, but that still left it down about 25% from last year.

NBC was again the growth story and had its best opening Wednesday of the season in three years. “Revolution” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall) improved on the net’s year-ago comedies in the timeslot by about 20% and drew its largest overall audience since late March — topping its final nine episodes of last season.

This was the first time the drama was airing without a lead-in from “The Voice,” and a reduced rating was expected as it shifted to a new night and time. The 1.8 is about in line with its final-month average of last spring (1.9) when it still enjoyed a “Voice” lead-in. It did a 4.1 with its series premiere in mid-September of last year.

From 9 to 11 p.m., the 15th-season opener of “Law & Order: SVU” impressed with a 2.7/7 in 18-49 and 9.5 million viewers overall, rising nearly 30% above its year-ago premiere in 18-49 (2.1) and drawing its largest overall audience since November 2011. After trailing ABC, CBS and Fox among adults 18-49 in its first hour, the 2.9 average for its final hour put it comfortably ahead of “CSI” and “Nashville.”

“SVU” was especially strong among the 18-34 half of the 18-49 demo, with its 2.5 rating in adults 18-34 repping a three-year high — and up more than 50% from last year.

At CBS, “Survivor” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall) was down from its premiere of last week and off about 25% from last year, but was still in the hunt for the hour’s 18-49 lead (neck and neck with ABC and Fox) while winning in adults 25-54 and total viewers.

“Criminal Minds” hung in there at 9 (2.8/8 in 18-49, 11.3 million viewers overall), off about 10% from last year and a solid second in 18-49 and 25-54, and just a bit behind “Modern Family” in total viewers. The extra hour of “SVU” seemed to put the squeeze on “CSI,” which returned to a lower 2.1/6 in 18-49 and 9.0 million viewers overall.

Next week, new drama “Ironside” debuts in the 10 p.m. slot for NBC. And at ABC, “Super Fun Night” bows at 9:30 p.m., following “Modern Family.”

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 2.8/8; Fox, 2.5/7; CBS and NBC, 2.4/7; Univision, 1.4/4; Telemundo, 0.4/1; CW, 0.3/1.

In total viewers: CBS, 9.9 million; ABC, 8.8 million; NBC, 8.6 million; Fox, 7.6 million; Univision, 3.5 million; Telemundo, 1.1 million; CW, 0.9 million.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • The Daily Show Trevor Noah BTS

    Emmys: Celebrating the Unsung Heroes of Late Night

    They’re the names that fly by when the credits roll. But every member of the production staff on a late-night talk show is a foot soldier waging a daily battle against time and limited resources to make the show come alive. Whether the series is a freight train that runs Monday through Friday or a [...]

  • Born This Way AE Network

    A&E Sets Holiday Finale Special for 'Born This Way'

    A&E Network has set a holiday finale special for “Born This Way,” the Emmy-winning reality series that chronicles the transition to adulthood for eight young men and women with Down syndrome. A&E plans to air the hourlong finale in December for the docu-reality series that ran four seasons, starting in 2015. Before the special debuts, [...]

  • Melanie Hamilton - Comcast Spotlight

    Comcast Spotlight Hires Google Exec Melanie Hamilton as VP National Sales

    Comcast Spotlight, the ad-sales division of Comcast Cable, named Melanie Hamilton as VP, national sales. An 11-year veteran of Google, Hamilton was most recently the internet giant’s head of industry for the telecom sector and led its AT&T account. At Comcast Spotlight, Hamilton will oversee the company’s national sales strategy across both holding companies and [...]

  • HBO-Chernobyl

    Sky Outlines Plans for 'Cinematic' Original Content to Rival HBO, Showtime

    Comcast-backed Sky has outlined plans for expanded and “cinematic” original content to rival U.S. networks HBO and Showtime. Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Thursday, Sky managing director of content Zai Bennett explained some of the ways the pay-TV giant plans to invest in original content after its programming budget was recently doubled by [...]

  • TV Ratings: ‘BH90210’ Drops Again, 'Big

    TV Ratings: ‘BH90210’ Drops Again, 'Big Brother' Tops Wednesday

    Fox’s “BH90210” revival continued to slide in the Wednesday night ratings. After posting an impressive 1.5 debut rating in the 18-49 demographic, the show slid 40% to a 0.95 in week two, and now an extra 15% to a 0.8 in week three. The show’s total viewership has also declined slightly from last week’s 2.5 [...]

  • Hyde Park Entertainment chief Ashok Amritraj

    Ashok Amritraj's Hyde Park Launches Large-Scale Production Venture in India

    Top-level talent including Paul Feig, Gurinder Chadha and Anurag Kashyap are on board as leading Hollywood independent Hyde Park Entertainment makes a major launch into the Indian production scene. The company is headed by Ashok Amritraj, the highest-profile Indian executive based in Los Angeles. The diversification move is made possible by the growing success of [...]

  • Sean Spicer Dancing With the Stars

    Sean Spicer Hopes 'Dancing With the Stars' Gig Will 'Move the Country Forward'

    In the face of a swift backlash, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he hoped his role as a contestant on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” can help “move the country forward in a positive way.” Spicer told CNN on Thursday that his “DWTS” posting was about entertainment, not politics. ABC revealed Spicer [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content