Ratings: NBC Wins Debate Race; ‘Neighbors’ Sags Without ‘Modern Family’

"Survivor" is most-watched program of the night; as CBS, Fox win overall

NBC took the biggest numbers for the first presidential debate, but CBS and Fox tied for first place overall Wednesday, according to preliminary numbers.

NBC's debate coverage tied Fox's "The X Factor" for the night's top ratings spot. ABC's new "The Neighbors" was down significantly in its timeslot debut after premiering last week with a huge lead-in from "Modern Family."

CBS had a 2.8 rating/7 share and took first in total viewers outright with 9.7 million. "Survivor: Philippines" at 8 dipped slightly from last week for a 2.9/9 and drew 10.5 million total viewers, making it the night's most-watched show.

The network's debate coverage the following hour drew a 3.0/7 and received 10.1 million total viewers, while its debate analysis at 10:30 was down 13 percent from its analysis of the first debate in 2008, posting a 2.0/5 and pulling in 7 million total viewers.

Fox, which took fourth place in total viewers with 7.4 million, ran "The X Factor" at 8, which inched up from last week for a 3.4/10 and took 9.3 million total viewers. Its debate coverage the following hour drew a 2.8/7 and posted 7 million total viewers, while its debate analysis was up 20 percent from the 2008 counterpart with a 1.8/5, nabbing 4.9 million total viewers.

NBC took a narrow third place in the demo with a 2.7/7, coming in third in total viewers with 8 million. The new comedy "Animal Practice" at 8 p.m. showed a slight improvement over last week's time-period premiere, drawing a 1.5/5 and received 5.2 million total viewers, while "Guys With Kids" climbed 13 percent to a 1.8/5 and drew 5.5 million total viewers.

NBC's debate coverage at 9 received a  3.4/8, tying "X Factor" for the first-place slot, grabbing 9.9 million total viewers Its debate analysis posted a 2.5/7 — down 14 percent from the analysis from the first 2008 debate — and took 7.6 million total viewers.

ABC took third place in ratings and second in total viewers with a 2.6/7 and 8.8 million. "The Middle" at 8 dropped 24 percent from last week's season premiere to a 2.2/7 and drew 7.9 million total viewers.

New comedy "The Neighbors" at 8:30 was down 38 percent from its series debut last week — when it ran in a different timeslot and had the benefit of a "Modern Family" lead-in — posting a 2.0/6 and receiving 6.6 million total viewers. ABC's presidential debate coverage at 9 received a 3.0/7 and drew 11.3 million total viewers — the largest audience for the debate among the networks — while its debate analysis ranked a 2.2/6 and drew 8.9 million total viewers.