Fast National ratings for Wednesday, October 13, 2010.
 
Any time a new series displays week-to-week improvement this season, it's news. That's why it's our duty to report that CBS' "The Defenders" reversed several weeks of declining numbers and went up on Wednesday night, allowing the legal drama to play an important role in the network's overall and demographic victories for the evening.
 
Meanwhile, "Law & Order: Los Angeles" fell hard for the second straight week for NBC.
 
Among adults 18-49, CBS averaged a 3.2 rating, up from last week and barely ahead of the 3.1 rating for FOX in the all-important demographic. ABC was a solid third with a 2.7 rating, beating the 1.9 rating for NBC and The CW's 1.2 rating. 
 
Overall, CBS averaged an estimated 11.96 million viewers to go with a 7.2 rating/12 share. ABC's 7.57 million viewers and 4.7/8 were second, beating NBC's 7.06 million viewers and 4.8/8. FOX's 6.795 million viewers and 3.9/6 beat the 1.6/3 and 2.523 million viewers for The CW.
 
8 p.m. -- "Survivor" Nicaragua" began the night in first with 12.13 million viewers and a 3.7 demo rating, both slightly up from last week. ABC was second with the 7.22 million viewers for "The Middle" and "Better with You." FOX's "Hell's Kitchen" was third with 6.26 million viewers and second in the demo with a 2.8 rating. NBC's "Undercovers" averaged 5.98 million viewers and a 1.5 demo rating, suggesting that the struggling freshman drama has leveled off after weeks of falling numbers. The CW's "America's Next Top Model" is rising with 3.02 million viewers and a 1.4 demo rating.
 
9 p.m. -- Overall, CBS' "Criminal Minds" won the 9 p.m. hour with 13.84 million viewers, coming in second with a 3.5 demo rating. ABC was second overall and won the demo with "Modern Family" (11.34 million and a 4.7 demo) and "Cougar Town" (7.3 million viewers and a 3.2 demo). "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" had 8 million viewers for third, but finished a distant fourth in the demo. FOX's "Hell's Kitchen" averaged 7.33 million viewers for fourth and was a close third with a 3.4 demo rating. On The CW, "Hellcats" had 2.03 million viewers, for another small week-to-week drop.
 
10 p.m. -- "The Defenders" averaged 9.91 million viewers and a 2.5 demo rating (up from 9.3 million and a 2.1 demo in last week's Fast Nationals) to win the 10 p.m. hour. NBC's "Law & Order: Los Angeles) was down to 7.2 million viewers and a 1.9 demo rating. ABC's "20/20" special on the Chilean miners averaged 6.16 million viewers and a 1.8 demo rating, both clear improvements over the time period performance from "The Whole Truth."
 
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.