It wasn’t the kind of auspicious comedy debut ABC enjoyed last week with ‘Modern Family’ and ‘Cougar Town,’ but the Alphabet network succeeded in winning the 8 o’clock hour Wednesday with two more new laffers, the Kelsey Grammer-starrer ‘Hank’ and ‘The Middle’ featuring Patricia Heaton.
Both launches combined to beat CBS’ more established “divorce-o-rama”-themed 8 p.m. comedy block, which includes ‘The New Adventures of Old Christine’ and ‘Gary Unmarried.’
Launching more new series than any other network this season, ABC has managed to score far more winners than losers, with ‘Forgotten’ so far being the only concept that hasn’t worked out.
Here’s a look how all the networks graded out during the second Wednesday of the new fall season.
MODERN FAMILY (ABC) – It was down 12% from its huge premiere, but Ed O’Neil’s enterprise was one of the night’s highest rated show (9.9 million viewers and a 3.7 in the adults 18-49 demo)… and it remains the funniest new comedy launch of the season. Watch last night’s episode here.
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE (Fox) – Online photo controversy doesn’t hurt. Perked up 8% this week with 6.7 million viewers and a 2.7 demo rating winning its time period.
HANK (ABC) – Despite poor reviews, Grammer proves he can still open a show to decent numbers. Hey, nobody’s going to forget and forgive him for ‘Back to You,’ but 8.5 million viewers and a 2.2 demo rating is a start. Watch last night’s episode here.
THE MIDDLE (ABC) – Take Heaton and ‘Scrubs’’ Neil Flynn, mix in a little of ‘Malcom in the Middle’s’ format (stripping out the smarter, subversive elements) – and don’t forget to sprinkle in copious amounts of Middle-American condescension and pandering – and you get ‘The Middle.’ Scoring 8.6 million viewers and a 2.5 demo rating, it’s off to a decent start, too. Watch last night’s episode here.
CRIMINAL MINDS (CBS) – The night’s most watched show with 13.6 million viewers and a 3.6 demo rating, but it was down 18% from its season premiere.
LAW & ORDER: SVU (NBC) – Second place behind ‘Criminal Minds’ with 7.9 million viewers and a 2.5 demo rating… but held steady from premiere week.
NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE (CBS) – Attracting 7.2 million viewers and a 2.0 demo rating, ‘Christine’ doesn’t look to be dolling itself up to marry into a sixth season.
GARY UNMARRIED (CBS) – Entering its second season as the second leg of CBS’ “America’s Night of Divorce!” block, ‘Gary Unmarried’ isn’t getting any help from ‘Christine’s’ creative lethargy (7.1 million viewers and a 2.3 demo rating last night).
JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) – Fell below the 2.0 demo rating threshold (1.9). This show has to consistently draw a respectable number of 18-49-year-olds in order to be considered successful. Watch last night’s episode here.
AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL (CW) – With 3.3 million viewers and a 1.5 demo rating, short people may have no reason to expect to meet Tyra going forward.