ABC's 'The Middle' 2nd-most-watched TV show Wednesday


Producing improved year-to-year returns, ABC was up over the same Wednesday last year (10/6/09) by 6% in Total Viewers (7.1 million vs. 6.7 million) and by 9% in Adults 18-49 (2.5/7 vs. 2.3/7).  The Net was also up 4% over the prior week among Adults 18-49.

Leading off the night, ABC’s The Middle (8.0 million) opened as the 2nd-most-watched TV show in the 8pm half-hour to CBS’ Survivor: Nicaragua, attracting 29% more viewers than NBC’s Undercovers (6.2 million) and 31% more than Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen (6.1 million).  The ABC sophomore comedy generated substantial year-to-year time period improvement for ABC, growing the half-hour by 1.5 million viewers (8.0 million vs. 6.5 million) and by 50% in Adults 18-49 (2.4/8  vs. 1.6/5) from the same night a year ago.  In fact on average over the course of 3 airings, The Middle is growing its half-hour for ABC over the same point last season by 14% in Total Viewers and by 32% in Adults 18-49.   The Middle is also up over its own performance last season in viewers (14%) and young adults (9%).

Growing by 5% week to week and showing its strongest-yet lead-in retention for ABC at 8:30pm (96%) on its third telecast, Better with You (2.3/7) continued to dominate its freshman competition in the half-hour in Adults 18-49, leading NBC’s Undercovers by a best-yet margin of 44% (1.6/5) in Week 3 of the season – building steadily from a 19% advantage on Week 1 and a 29% advantage on Week 2.  In addition, Better with You boosted the half-hour for ABC by 10% year to year in Adults 18-49 (2.3/7 vs. 2.1/6).  The show equaled series-high ratings with key Men (M18-34/M25-54).
Finishing as Wednesday’s dominant  #1 TV show for the 3rd consecutive week this season, ABC’s Modern Family once again led its 9pm half-hour by a strong margin, outdelivering second-place CBS’ Criminal Minds by 29% in Adults 18-49 (4.5/12 vs. 3.5/9).  Modern Family built sharply on its year-ago performance, gaining 2.5 million viewers (11.3 million vs. 8.8 million) and 32% in Adults 18-49 (4.5/12 vs. 3.4/9).  On average in its sophomore season, Modern Family’s numbers are up over the same point last season by 14% in Total Viewers and by 24% in Adults 18-49.  Modern Family posted the series’ 3rd-highest-ever Adult 18-49 number, while tallying its 2nd-highest-ever numbers with Adults 18-34 and Women 18-34 (behind only its second-season premiere).

At 9:30pm, Cougar Town was up week to week by 11% in Adults 18-49 (3.1/8 vs. 2.8/8), pulling in the series’ 2nd-highest viewer and young adult numbers since January (behind only its season premiere) – since 1/20/10.  The ABC comedy ranked a strong #1 in its time period with Women 18-34, beating its nearest competition by 16% (3.7/10 vs. 3.2/9 – the final half-hour of Fox’s 2-hour Hell’s Kitchen)

Qualifying as the only new network drama to grow week to week in Wednesday’s 10 o’clock hour, as NBC’s Law & Order: Los Angeles and CBS’ The Defenders both declined sharply, ABC’s The Whole Truth surged by 17% over the prior week in Adults 18-49 rating (1.4/4 vs. 1.2/4).

Note:  MLB Playoff coverage on cable provided increased competition week to week for ABC and the other broadcast nets, with post-season baseball games featuring major-market teams (including the NY Yankees) boosting TBS’ National ratings during prime.

(source: ABC)