ABC's 'The Middle' takes 2nd-most-watched TV


ABC Builds its Numbers Year to Year for the 3rd Time in 3 Nights this Week. “Modern Family” is Wednesday’s No. 1 TV Show for the 4th Week Running.

“The Middle” Continues to Top its Year-Ago Results Despite its Earlier Time Slot, As the Comedy is Up this Season by 10% in Viewers and by 8% in Adults 18-49.

Posting Strong Lead-in Retention for ABC at 8:30pm, “Better with You” Dominates its Freshman Competition, Beating NBC’s “Undercovers” by 40%.

Building Nicely Over the Same Point Last Season, “Modern Family” Marks its 2nd-Highest-Ever Young Adult Ratings and Hits a Series High in Women 18-34.

Growing for the 2nd Straight Week, ABC’s “Cougar Town” Scores the Series’ 2nd-Biggest Numbers Since January in Viewers and Young Adults.

ABC News’ “A Special Edition of 20/20” on the Chilean Mine Rescue Attracts  The Network’s Biggest Audience in Wednesday’s 10 O’clock Hour in 10 Months.

Wednesday Night (8:00-11:00 p.m.)
Continuing to generate year-to-year improvement on the evening, ABC increased its numbers over the same Wednesday last year (10/14/09) by 12% in Total Viewers (7.6 million vs. 6.8 million) and by 17% in Adults 18-49 (2.7/8 vs. 2.3/7).  In fact it was ABC’s 3rd time in 3 nights this week to grow over year-ago evening.   

Producing its 2nd straight week of Adult 18-49 growth, the Net was up 8% over the prior Wednesday, hitting its best number since season-premiere Wednesday on 9/22/10.

“The Middle” (8:00-8:30 p.m.)
At 8:00 p.m., ABC’s “The Middle” (7.9 million) stood as the 2nd-most-watched TV show overall in the half-hour to CBS’ “Survivor: Nicaragua,” outdrawing Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” by 1.9 million viewers (6.0 million) and NBC’s “Undercovers” by 2.1 million viewers (5.8 million).  The sophomore comedy once again boosted its time-period for ABC, growing the half-hour by 1.7 million viewers and by 50% in Adults 18-49, from the year-ago night. 

On average this season, “The Middle” is up from performance at this point last year (when it had the advantage of airing at 8:30 p.m. with higher overall viewing levels) in both viewers (+10%) and young adults (+8%).

“Better with You” (8:30-9:30 p.m.)
Once again showing strong lead-in retention for ABC at 8:30 p.m. (88%), “Better with You” continued to overshadowed its freshman competition in the half-hour in Adults 18-49, outdelivering NBC’s “Undercovers” by 40% (2.1/6 vs. 1.5/4).  The ABC new comedy also drew a larger overall audience than the new NBC drama (6.5 million vs. 6.1 million). 

In addition to its strong Adult 18-49 retention, the ABC freshman comedy held 94% of its Adult 18-34 lead-in. 

“Modern Family” (9:00-9:30 p.m.)
Qualifying as Wednesday’s definitive No. 1 TV show for the 4th time in 4 weeks this season, ABC’s “Modern Family” took full control of its 9:00 p.m. time slot, beating out second-place CBS’ “Criminal Minds by a season-best 34% in Adults 18-49 (4.7/13 vs. 3.5/9). 

Bettering its year-ago performance for the 4th straight week, the ABC sophomore comedy surged over its delivery on the same night last year by 1.9 million viewers (11.3 million vs. 9.4 million) and 31% in Adults 18-49 (4.7/13 vs. 3.6/10).  On average in its sophomore year, “Modern Family’s” numbers are up over the same point last season by 16% in Total Viewers and by 24% in Adults 18-49. 

Growing week to week, “Modern Family” posted the series’ 2nd-highest-ever numbers among Adults 18-49 and Adults 18-34 (behind only its three-week-ago season premiere), while hitting a series high with Women 18-34.

“Cougar Town” (9:30-10:00 p.m.)
Building its numbers for the 2nd week in a row at 9:30pm, “Cougar Town” (7.3 million and 3.2/9) increased week to week by 7% in Adults 18-49, marking in the series’ 2nd-highest viewer and young adult numbers since January (behind only its season premiere) – since 1/20/10. 

For the 2nd week running, the ABC comedy finished a strong No. 1 in its time period with Women 18-34, beating its nearest competition by 18% (3.9/11 vs. 3.3/8 – Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen”).  “Cougar Town” also finished No. 1 in its half-hour with Adults 18-34 (tie).

“A Special Edition of 20/20” (10:00-11:00 p.m.)
In the 10 o’clock hour, ABC News’ “A Special Edition of 20/20 – Miracle At The Mine” (6.2 million) drew the Network’s largest audience in the time period in 10 months – since 12/9/09.

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 33% 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), 10/13/10)