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New Comedy Energizes ABC’s Wednesday Lineup

'How to Live With Your Parents' opens with solid timeslot gains; 'Modern Family' tops 'Idol'

The ABC family comedy “How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life” opened to fairly good numbers Wednesday and helped prop up the entire night. The net’s “Modern Family” solidly beat Fox’s “American Idol” head to head, with the music contest hitting another Wednesday low.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, ABC was up in each half-hour vs. its lackluster returns of last week, with “The Middle” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall) rising 10% (0.2) and the timeslot debut of “Suburgatory” at 8:30 p.m. (1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall) a 20% improvement (0.3) over the score for the finale of “The Neighbors” a week ago and about what it did after “Modern Family” a week ago. The biggest gains, though, came in the 9 o’clock hour as anchor “Modern Family” (4.1/11 in 18-49, 10.6 million viewers overall) shot up by nearly 30% week to week to rule as the night’s No. 1 program and beat Fox’s “Idol” head-to-head — and in convincing fashion (4.1 to 3.2 in 18-49).

At 9:30 p.m., the premiere of Sarah Chalke-fronted comedy “How to Live With Your Parents” averaged a 2.9/7 in 18-49 and 8.4 million viewers overall, just a bit below “Idol” in the half-hour and slightly above CBS drama “Criminal Minds.” “Parents” retained about 70% of its “Modern Family” lead-in and grew by 53% (1.0) over last week’s “Suburgatory.” Even with an expected falloff next week, ABC would be happy to see a show that can consistently hold more than the 50-55% that “Suburgatory” and other post-“Modern Family” shows have logged.

“How to Live With Your Parents” was in line with the premiere of “Don’t Trust the B. in Apt. 23” in April of last year, with roughly the same “Modern Family” lead-in.

The stronger showing at 9:30 p.m. also boosted “Nashville” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall), which grew 13% (0.2) from last week to place second in 18-49 among the 10 p.m. hour’s Big Three dramas.

Fox’s “American Idol” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 11.5 million viewers overall) dipped a smidge week to week for another Wednesday series low; it still won three of its four half-hours in 18-49 and helped the net stay on top for the night in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers.

CBS edged out ABC for second place among young adults on the night, with “Survivor” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall) on par with last week and pulling to within 1 share of “American Idol” head to head in adults 25-54 while eking ahead of it in men 25-54. It was followed by “Criminal Minds” (2.8/7 in 18-49, 10.7 million viewers overall), which ran third in demos for its hour and was down 7% (0.2) from its most recent original. And at 10, “CSI” remains the drama to beat (2.1/6 in 18-49, 9.8 million viewers overall), though it too was down some (0.2).

NBC slid newsmag “Dateline” into the slot formerly occupied by “Whitney” and saw immediate improvement, up 40% (0.4) from “Whitney’s” finale of last week even if it remained in fourth place among the major nets. And down a tick from last week, when they didn’t face CBS drama competition, were 9-11 p.m. dramas “Law & Order: SVU” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall) and “Chicago Fire” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall).

And at CW, “Arrow” held steady (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall) and “Supernatural” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 2.0 million viewers overall) dipped a bit from its above-average scores of last week.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 3.0/9; CBS, 2.4/7; ABC, 2.3/7; Univision, 1.7/5; NBC, 1.5/4; CW, 0.8/2.
In total viewers: CBS, 11.5 million; CBS, 9.9 million; ABC, 7.2 million; NBC, 6.1 million; Univision, 3.9 million; CW, 2.4 million.

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