ABC continues to build a successful comedy block on Wednesdays, with its new 8 p.m. half-hours getting off to credible starts and its 9 p.m. hour looking solid in week two.
Elsewhere, Fox had a good night as "Glee" continues to hold up well and NBC’s "Mercy" was relatively steady.
A first look at the numbers, per Nielsen’s prelim fast national data:
–Critically savaged Kelsey Grammer sitcom "Hank" (2.2/7 in adults 18-49) finished in second place at 8 p.m. in the key demo, beating CBS’s comedies. Its number was just a tad better than "Pushing Daisies" last year, so ABC isn’t jumping for joy. But it’s not a disaster given the overall weakness of the slot.
Things perked up a bit at 8:30, with Patricia Heaton’s "The Middle" (2.5/7) also ranking second and up more than 20 percent vs. the second half hour of "Daisies" last year.
The better news for ABC: "Modern Family" (3.7/10) and "Cougar Town" (3.6/9) did fine at 9. Yes, they were down — "MF" about 12 percent, "CT," a bit more — but they hardly tanked.
"MF" won its hour in adults 18-49, while "CT" was a close second.
At 10 p.m., "Eastwick" (2.4/7) slid 20 percent. Not great, not awful.
–Fox’s "So You Think You Can Dance" (2.7/8) easily won the 8 p.m. hour (the vajajay controversy resulted in an 8 percent rise: Well played, Nigel! Well played). That lifted "Glee" (3.2/9), which improved from its week-ago perfomance (OK, only 3 percent, but still!)
Big sigh of relief at Fox, which has already ordered a full season of the musical comedy.
–CBS had another nice night. It was first for the night in total viewers and tied Fox for the demo lead.
After routine performances for its 8 p.m. comedies, "Criminal Minds" (3.6/10) won the 9 p.m. hour in demos (though it dropped over 20 percent from its premiere). "CSI: NY" (3.2/11) took a similar drop but still easily dominated at 10.
–Let’s do a glass half-full report for NBC. "Mercy" (2.1/6) dropped 9 percent at 8 p.m., but you know what? That’s not bad. It’s also a lot better than what NBC average in the slot last year. And the Peacock is in the game in this hour– assuming "Mercy" can hold steady or grow (four words: big name guest star).
At 9, "SVU" was stable week to week.
The Jay Leno/Future of Television Watch, Brought to You By Comcast: 1.9/5 in the demo. Six million eyeballs. Third place. Down 5 percent from last week.
–On the CW, "Top Model" notched a 1.8/6 with adults 18-34 and was up 13 percent from last week. It tied its best performance of the season with viewers and women 18-34.
A "Melrose Place" rerun at 9 did better than last week’s original episode of "The Beautiful Life: TBL."
LATE NIGHT UPDATE
No surprise here: CBS’s "Late Show with David Letterman" dominated premiere week ratings, which were released today. Letterman had big guests such as President Obama and former prez Bill Clinton; Conan O’Brien was in repeats on Friday due to a head injury.
"Late Show" won the week in both viewers and adults 18-49, and had its best premiere week in overall audience since 2001.