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World Series Wraps as Highest-Rated in 5 Years

Not since the Red Sox broke the Curse have viewers cared so much about the Fall Classic.

The Bronx Bombers weren’t the only winners this year in the world of baseball: Fox came out looking quite good, too.

This year’s World Series drew an average viewership of 19.4 million viewers and a 6.2 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic, Fox said Thursday, citing Nielsen data. That’s up just over 40 percent in both categories vs. last year’s Fall Classic and the best numbers for the baseball championships since the Red Sox finally broke The Curse back in 2004.

As for the deciding Game Six, Fox says it scored a 6.2 in adults 18-49 and 22.3 million viewers. That’s a tad less than Sunday’s broadcast of Game Four, which had the advantage of a massive NFL lead-in.

Not surprisingly, the World Series had a negative impact on the competition– though some of the numbers once again have us wondering if the ratings service shouldn’t renamed Nielsen WTF.

Over at ABC, for example, "Modern Family" (3.4/9) was down a predictable 9 percent vs. the big game. But then at 9:30, "Cougar Town" (2.7/7) sank 16 percent to hit a series low. "Cougar" has been holding on to most of its "MF" lead-in, so the sudden swan dive seems suspect.

The rest of ABC’s comedy Wednesday was pretty typical, though down: "Hank" (1.4/4) continues to be the runt of the litter, while "The Middle" (2.0/5) is finding its own audience and tied for the demo lead among scripted series in the 8:30 half-hour.

CBS defied gravity at 8 p.m, with "Old Christine" (2.1/6) ticking up at 8, but "Gary Unmarried" (2.0/5) took a 9 percent hit vs. its last original. At 9 p.m., "Criminal Minds" was back in originals, but its 3.2/8 was off 16 percent and its lowest-rated broadcast of the season.

NBC, meanwhile, saw any mini-momentum for "Mercy" slow. After a one-week pre-emption for a holiday special, the medical dram sank to a 1.7/5, which is down 11 percent from its last original. The series is still tracking 15 percent above NBC’s 2008-09 average in the slot, though.

"Law & Order: SVU" (2.5/6) was down a bit at 9 p.m.

As for the 10 p.m. timeslot, "CSI: NY" (2.7/7) had its lowest-rated broadcast ever, while struggling freshman "Eastwick" (1.6/4) matched its demo low. "The Jay Leno Show" (1.3/4) also had a Wednesday low.

One show not impacted by the World Series: The CW’s "America’s Next Top Model." It had its best ratings of the season in adults 18-34, adults 18-49 and total viewers.