the defenders 320 Wednesday ratings breakdown: All in the 'Family' ... or on CBSWinning the Emmy for best comedy didn’t do much for “30 Rock’s” ratings in recent years, but the award seemed to give “Modern Family” a nice boost in its second-season premiere.

The ABC comedy hit all-time highs in both viewers (12.7 million) and adults 18-49 (5.1 rating) Wednesday night (Sept. 22), scoring a definitive win in the demographic for the night. That’s (part of) the good news for the network, but there’s some bad news too: Its 10 p.m. drama “The Whole Truth” got off to a weak start.

Wednesday’s other big winner was CBS, which led all three hours of primetime in total viewers and saw its new show “The Defenders” get off to a decent start. “Survivor: Nicaragua” (12.6 million viewers, 4.0 in 18-49), “Criminal Minds” (14.1 million, 4.0) and “The Defenders” (12.2 million, 2.9) gave the network a very consistent lineup.

Other notes from Wednesday night:

ABC: Like “Modern Family,” the season premiere of “The Middle” (8.8 million viewers, 2.7 in adults 18-49) hit a series high in total viewers and recorded the show’s second-best 18-49 rating ever. The debut of “Better With You” at 8:30 held nearly all of “The Middle’s” audience, drawing 7.9 million viewers and a 2.5 in the demo. “Cougar Town” still dropped off from “Modern Family,” but its 8.3 million viewers and 3.4 in the 18-49 demo were its best numbers since week two of last season.

The big downside for ABC was “The Whole Truth,” which finished a distant third at 10 o’clock with just 4.85 million viewers and a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49.

NBC: “Law & Order: SVU’s” two-hour premiere brought in 10.1 million people and a 3.2 rating in the 18-49 demo, both of which were up significantly from the one-hour season premiere in 2009. (The first hour by itself also improved on last year’s numbers.) Somewhat more puzzling is the debut of “Undercovers,” which did OK in total viewers — 8.7 million, good for second place in the 8 p.m. hour — but finished fourth in adults 18-49 with a 2.1. We (and most others) were expecting the J.J. Abrams-produced spy series to skew somewhat younger.

FOX: The two-hour season premiere of “Hell’s Kitchen” was rock-steady, matching its summer debut in adults 18-49 (2.9) and gaining a little bit in total viewers (6.6 million vs. 6.2 million).

The CW:
Both “America’s Next Top Model” and “Hellcats” lost a few viewers compared to last week, but they held steady among the network’s target audiences of women 18-34 and adults 18-34. “Hellcats” actually improved a little in women 18-34 — and The CW notes that the new show is doing the double the ratings of “The Beautiful Life” last season.

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Photo credit: CBS

Posted by:Rick Porter