ABC's 'Modern Family' was a standout Wednesday


“Modern Family” is Wednesday’s No. 1 TV Show for the 2nd Straight Week.

“The Middle” Finishes as the 2nd-Most-Watched TV Show at 8pm and Improves the Half-Hour for ABC Year to Year by 14% in Adults 18-49.

“Better with You” Widens its Lead Over its Freshman Competition At 8:30pm, Beating NBC’s “Undercovers” by 24% in Adults 18-49.

“Modern Family” Marks its 2nd-Highest-Ever Adult 18-49 Number And Achieves a New Series-High Rating Among Teens 12-17.

ABC’s “Cougar Town” Scores its 2nd-Strongest Numbers Since January.

Opposite Stiff Competition in the 10pm Hour, “The Whole Truth” Retains Nearly All of its Week-Ago Series Debut Audience.

“The Middle” (8:00-8:30 p.m.)
Leading off the night, ABC’s “The Middle” (8.3 million) finished as the second-most-watched TV show in the 8:00 p.m. half-hour to CBS’ “Survivor: Nicaragua,” outdrawing NBC’s “Undercovers” by 19% (7.0 million) and Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” by 46% (5.7 million).  “The Middle” showed solid retention of its week-ago debut in its new time period among viewers (94%) and young adults (89%). 

The sophomore comedy generated strong year-to-year time period improvement for ABC, growing the half-hour by 14% in Adults 18-49 from the same night a year ago (2.4/8 vs. 2.1/7 – “Hank” debut).  

“Better with You” (8:30-9:30 p.m.)
Continuing to deliver solid lead-in retention for ABC at 8:30 p.m. (88%), “Better with You” (2.1/6) beat its freshman competition in the half-hour among Adults 18-49, NBC’s “Undercovers” (1.7/5), by an even wider margin of 24% on their second matchup (up from a 19% advantage the prior week).  The new ABC comedy held a strong 90% of its week-ago debut audience overall and also generated solid week-to-week retention with Adults 25-54 (87%) and Women 18-34 (88%).
“Modern Family” (9:00-9:30 p.m.)
Standing as Wednesday’s definitive No. 1 TV show for the 2nd week in a row, ABC’s “Modern Family” once again dominated its 9:00 p.m. half-hour, beating second-place CBS’ “Criminal Minds” by 29% in Adults 18-49 (4.5/12 vs. 3.5/10).  “Modern Family” rose sharply from its year-ago performance, adding on 1.9 million viewers (11.9 million vs. 10.0 million) and 18% more Adults 18-49 (4.5/12 vs. 3.8/10). 

“Modern Family” pulled in the series’ 3rd-largest-ever audience (behind only its two season premieres), its 2nd-highest-ever Adult 18-49 number (behind only last week’s season opener) and achieved a new series high with Teens 12-17.

“Cougar Town” (9:30-10:00 p.m.)
At 9:30pm, “Cougar Town” exhibited solid retention of its week-ago season opener among viewers (86% – 7.1 million vs. 8.3 million) and Adults 18-49 (85% – 2.9/8 vs. 3.4/9), pulling in the series’ 2nd-highest numbers since January on both counts (behind only the last week’s premiere) – since 1/20/10.

“The Whole Truth” (10:00-11:00 p.m.)
Opposite stiff competition in the final hour of the night from NBC’s highly-promoted debut of “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” ABC’s “The Whole Truth” retained an impressive 96% of its week-ago series debut audience (4.7 million vs. 4.9 million) and held 87% among Adult 18-49 rating (1.3/4 vs. 1.5/4).

A note about increasing DVR penetration and year-to-year rating comparisons: Year-to-year rating comparisons based on the Live + Same Day data stream are distorted by the level of DVR penetration in the Nielsen sample, which has jumped up to 38% currently, from 32% at the same point in 2009. More viewers are watching shows on their own timetables, which may not be reflected in the overnight next day numbers. The only truly valid year-to-year comparison would be one based on the Live + 7 Day metric, once those stats are released by Nielsen.

(Source: ABC – The Nielsen Company (Fast Affiliate, Live + Same Day Ratings), 9/29/10)