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Ratings: 'Modern Family,' 'Cougar Town' start strong; 'Criminal Minds' wins the night

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A big night of premieres found CBS and ABC in a close race for most-watched network on Wednesday. The Eye edged out the Alphabet, according to overnight numbers, with the return Criminal Minds (the evening’s top-rated show), CSI: NY, and the 8 p.m. hour’s only sitcoms, The New Adventures of Old Christine and Gary Unmarried. ABC meanwhile scored with the season’s first eliminations on Dancing With the Stars, the healthy debuts of the critically-beloved comedy Modern Family and the slightly less-revered Cougar Town starring Courteney Cox. (And the showing for new dramedy Eastwick that was at least good enough to beat Leno.) NBC finished second in the 8 p.m. hour with the debut of the freshman nurse drama Mercy, but dropped to third at 9 p.m. with the season 11 premiere of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on a new day and time. Fox’s Glee, which just received a full season order, held steady. The disappointing second episode of The CW’s The Beautiful Life, which dropped roughly 60 percent of its Top Model lead-in, indicated that America does not like fictional models; only “real” models tortured by Tyra.

Time Show Viewers (in millions)
8 p.m. Dancing With the Stars: The Results (ABC)

Mercy (NBC)

The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS)

So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)

America’s Next Top Model (The CW)

15.0

8.2

7.7

5.6

2.8

8:30 p.m. Gary Unmarried (CBS) 7.4
9 p.m. Criminal Minds (CBS)

Modern Family (ABC)

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC)

Glee (Fox)

The Beautiful Life (The CW)

15.4

12.7

8.4

6.6

1.1

9:30 p.m. Cougar Town (ABC) 11.4
10 p.m. CSI: NY (CBS)

Eastwick (ABC)

The Jay Leno Show (NBC)

14.6

8.5

6.4

Read more:

Annie Barrett recaps Dancing With the Stars

Ken Tucker: Do you agree Modern Family is one of the funniest new sitcoms?

Modern Family costars live-tweet last night’s series debut for EW.com

Kate Ward recaps So You Think You Can Dance

Tim Stack recaps Glee

Eastwick: Did you find it bewitching, or should it be burned at the stake?

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