With its season premiere Wednesday line-up, ABC turned in its strongest performance on the evening in nearly 10 months among Total Viewers and Adults 18-49 – since 12/9/09.
Shifting into the lead-off position for ABC’s Wednesday night comedy block, the sophomore season premiere of The Middle greatly improved the 8pm half hour year to year for ABC among Adults 18-49 (+24%) and finished a solid #2 in the slot to CBS’ Survivor: Nicaragua, beating Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen premiere by 8% and NBC’s Undercovers debut by 30%. The Middle marked a series high with Total Viewers and posted its top Adult 18-49 number since February – since 2/10/10. The sophomore comedy generated ABC’s largest audience with regular programming in the time period in nearly 3 years and marked the top Adult 18-49 number in the slot with a scripted series since Fall 2007 – since 10/24/07 and 11/14/07, respectively.
Exhibiting impressive 96% lead-in retention at 8:30pm, the series debut of Better with You beat its freshman competition in the half-hour by 19% in Adults 18-49 (NBC’s Undercovers debut). Better with You attracted ABC’s biggest audience in the time period since the beginning of January and equaled its highest Adult 18-49 rating since February – since 1/6/10 and 2/10/10, respectively.
Wednesday’s definitive #1 TV show and the top-rated comedy of the new TV Season, ABC’s Emmy Award-winning Modern Family opened its sophomore season by doubling its lead-in and posting a dominant victory at 9pm, beating its nearest competition (CBS’ Criminal Minds premiere) by 28% in Adults 18-49. Modern Family achieved series highs across the board (Total Viewers and all key Adults), surging from its year-ago series debut by 19% with Adults 18-49, which had the advantage of airing directly out of big DWTS: The Results lead-in. In addition, the hit ABC comedy delivered the Net’s top Adult 18-49 rating in the slot with regular programming in over 1-1/2 years – since 2/18/09, with an episode of Lost.
At 9:30pm, the season opener of Cougar Town earned the #2 position in its time period among Adults 18-49, beating the NBC’s Law & Order: SVU premiere and the final half hour of Fox’s 2-hour Hell’s Kitchen premiere. The ABC comedy finished #1 in its time slot in Adults 18-34. Cougar Town opened its sophomore season with the series’ biggest audience since last September (3rd-largest-ever) and highest Adult 18-49 rating since January – since 9/30/09 and 1/20/10, respectively.
Up against stiff competition from the final hour of NBC’s 2-hour L&O: SVU opener and CBS’ highly-promoted debut of The Defenders, ABC’s debut of The Whole Truth produced the Net’s best results in the hour with regular scripted programming since April among Total Viewers and Adults 18-49 – since 4/28/10.