Wednesday ratings breakdown: Thoroughly 'Modern' ABC

juliebowen_modernfamily_290.jpgWinners and losers from Wednesday night's ratings, including some strong numbers for a pair of comedies on ABC and some surprisingly soft ones for a veteran drama on NBC:

Winners: "Modern Family" and "Cougar Town." Their total-viewer counts fell slightly in the final same-day nationals -- "Modern Family" went from 12.74 million to 12.6 million, and "Cougar Town" dropped from 11.44 million to 11.28 million. But both are still very healthy numbers for a network that's trying to re-establish its comedy brand.

The best news for the network is the fact that the two comedies grew significantly in adults 18-49 from the "Dancing with the Stars" results show that preceded them. "Modern Family" scored a 4.2 rating in the demo, up from 3.3 for "DWTS," and "Cougar Town" improved further by snagging a 4.4. That's an indication that a good number of younger viewers -- the ones networks pay a premium for -- made a point of tuning in.

Loser: "Law & Order: SVU." The series averaged better than 10 million viewers a week last season and a 3.7 in the 18-49 demo -- both of which were far better than the 8.36 million and 2.5 the show pulled Wednesday. Yes, it was airing on a new night at a new time, and the competition was a little stiffer than it had last year, so some drop was to be expected -- just not as big as this.

Winners: CBS cops. "Criminal Minds" and "CSI: NY" each opened with better than 15 million viewers and drew their biggest audiences since early last season. "CSI: NY" won its time period by more than 6 million viewers.

Loser: "The Beautiful Life." It's almost piling on at this point, but "TBL's" second episode barely broke the million-viewer mark for the night. It got beat by a repeat of "Magic's Biggest Secrets Revealed" on MyNetwork TV.

Incomplete: "Mercy" and "Eastwick." Neither show posted great numbers -- "Mercy" drew 8.38 million people for NBC and "Eastwick" 8.5 million for ABC -- but neither one stunk up the joint either. I'm curious to see how they do in the next couple of weeks in time periods where they're at least different than the competition. "Mercy" is the only drama on at 8 p.m., and "Eastwick" is a lighter drama alternative to "CSI: NY."

Right where we left it: "Glee." It's becoming clear that while "Glee" isn't a hit, it's established a decent-sized (and young) niche, and FOX appears happy with that. Its ratings this week (6.64 million viewers, 3.1 in 18-49), with everyone else in originals, were almost identical to last week (6.69 million, 3.2), and the show won its hour in adults 18-34 and teenagers.

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TV ratings: ABC comedies, CBS dramas strong Wednesday
Ratings breakdowns: Monday | Tuesday
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