Fast National ratings for Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009.

Has ABC managed to successfully launch a comedy block? The Wednesday night premieres for the critically adored "Modern Family" and the less critically adored "Cougar Town" were robust and not just because of their "Dancing with the Stars" lead-in. The numbers for the Wednesday premieres of ABC's "Eastwick" and "Mercy" will less strong, though neither show was close to being an out-of-the-box failure.

The same cannot be said for The CW's "The Beautiful Life: TBL," which may be moving closer to becoming the fall's first casualty.

For Wednesday night, ABC and CBS both averaged a 3.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic, good enough to beat the 2.8 rating for FOX. NBC was fourth in the key demographic with a 2.2 rating, leaving The CW in last with a 0.9 rating. 

Overall, ABC and CBS posted the same 7.7 rating/13 share, but CBS' 12.5 million viewers beat the 11.86 million for ABC. NBC was third with a 5.0/8, beating the 3.8/6 for FOX. The CW was fifth with a 1.4/2.

ABC started the night in first with a 9.8/16 for "Dancing with the Stars," which also won the hour in the 18-49 demo with a 3.2 rating. The premiere of NBC's "Mercy" was second overall with a 5.2/9 and 8.25 million viewers, though its 2.3 rating in the 18-49 rating was fourth. CBS' "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and "Gary Unmarried" averaged a 4.7/8 in their season premieres. FOX's "So You Think You Can Dance" was fourth overall with a 3.6/6, but finished second in the 18-49 demo. The CW's "America's Next Top Model" was flat in fifth.

CBS moved into first at 9 p.m. with the 9.4/15 for the return of "Criminal Minds." ABC's "Modern Family" (8.0/13, with 12.74 million viewers) and "Cougar Town" (7.2/11, with 11.44 million viewers) may have lost viewers overall from their lead-in, but both shows did a 4.3 rating in the 18-49 demo, building on "Dancing." NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" had a sluggish premiere with a 5.5/9. FOX's "Glee" was in line with last week's performance, a decent sign for the already-renewed musical comedy. On The CW, "The Beautiful Life: TBL" limped to a 0.8/1, falling under a million viewers in its second half-hour.

The return of "CSI: NY" had an 9.0/16 to win the 10 p.m. hour overall and in the key demo. ABC's "Eastwick" was second with a 5.6/10, dropping to a 3.0 demo rating. NBC's "The Jay Leno Show" was third overall and in the key demo.


All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.


A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.