Ratings: Leno Leaves, NBC’s Numbers Jump

Plus: ABC, CBS prove there’s room for more than one hit show in the “American Idol” timeslot

Last Updated: February 11, 2010 @ 3:24 PM

"American Idol" continues to do just fine in the Ellen DeGeneres era, while ABC and CBS are proving there’s room for other shows to succeed opposite Fox’s still-mighty music-making machine.

Oh, and NBC improved its 10 p.m. ratings in the first night of the post Leno-era.

Wednesday’s "Idol" — the second night of Hollywood Week and of DeGeneres as a judge — notched a 9.5 rating and 23 share among adults 18-49 and averaged 25 million from 9-10 p.m., per Nielsen. That’s up down a tad in overall audience and down a bit in the demo vs. night two of Hollywood Week last year.

And, as per usual, Hollywood Week is doing better than the final audition rounds of the show: "Idol" jumped 22 percent in adults 18-49 vs. last week’s audition wrap.

Bottom line for any "Idol" ratings rubberneckers looking for any Ellen-related drama, either positive or negative: Move along now. Nothing to see here. Keep driving.

A more interesting story is how well ABC and CBS continue to do this year vs. "Idol."

Despite fears that ABC’s "Modern Family" might see its momentum slow vs. "Idol," that ain’t what’s happening. Wednesday’s episode earned a 4.2/10 in adults 18-49, up 8 percent from last week and matching the show’s best-ever demo score, ABC said.

And at 8:30, ABC’s "The Middle" continues to find its groove.

Its 3.0/8 in the demo was a series high — an 11 percent uptick from last week and the second consecutive season high for the show. You might say the show has become something of a Brick House. (Get it? Because, you know, there’s a cute little kid character named Brick who whispers things to himself? And there’s this song…. OK, never mind).

As strong as ABC’s early half of Wednesday has become, things aren’t so hot later in the night.

"Cougar Town," already renewed for a second season, fell week-to-week to a 2.8/7 in the demo. It finished third in the slot behind "Idol" and CBS’s "Criminal Minds." It’ll be interesting to see if ABC ultimately decides this show works better in another timeslot next year.

At 10 p.m., the canceled "Ugly Betty" (1.7/5) was up double digits from last week but still finished third in the time slot opposite "CSI: NY" (3.6/10) and a repeat of "Law & Order: SVU" (1.8/5).

Yes, an "SVU" repeat did 13 percent better than what "The Jay Leno Show" had been doing on Wednesdays. Manage that margin, folks.

Two other quick nuggets:

– "Criminal Minds," with a 3.8/9 in the demo, was flat vs. last week but continues to be solid opposite "Idol" and the red-hot "Family."

– Fox’s new 8 p.m. drama "Human Target" has stabilized, earning a 2.5/7 in the demo, up 4 percent from last week. The show finished in second place for the hour.