The return of Matthew Perry to broadcast TV gave ABC a real boost on Wednesday night, his new sitcom Mr. Sunshine easily outperforming Cougar Town’s history in the time period despite receiving mixed reviews from critics.
Sunshine delivered 10.6 million viewers and a 3.7 preliminary adults 18-49 rating, besting the season-to-date average of fellow Friends graduate Courteney Cox in the 9:30 p.m. slot by 32 percent and beating the Cougar premiere by 9 percent. It’s also ABC’s highest-rated new series debut this season (not the highest of bars to clear, unfortunately) and the network’s best numbers in this time period in 16 months.
Over on CBS, Paula Abdul’s Live to Dance (7.8 million, 0.9) had its season (and almost certainly, series) finale, ranking as the night’s lowest-rated show. Funny: The Parents Television Council awarded Dance its “Seal of Approval” yesterday.
Meanwhile Fox’s American Idol (23.7 million, 8.3) won the night while rising 11 percent this week, followed by the season finale of Human Target (8.3 million, 2.4), down 8 percent. I know fans are worried about whether Target will return. These are fine numbers for this show … if only Target did not require an Idol lead-in to hit them.
ABC was in second place for the night, running up to Sunshine with a steady The Middle (8.8 million, 2.6), Better With You (6.8 million, 2.0) hitting a series low, and Modern Family (13.1 million, 5.0) rising 9 percent. At 10 p.m., Off the Map (5.6 million, 1.9) didn’t improve despite enjoying a stronger opening act this week from Sunshine.
After Dance, CBS had Criminal Minds (14.3 million, 3.7) up 16 percent from its last original, then Blue Bloods (12.5 million, 2.3), up 44 percent thanks to having an original Minds lead-in this week and hitting a series high.
And finally, NBC’s two-hour
Deal or No Deal Minute to Win It (6.1 million, 1.8) falling 25 percent from last week’s season-high performance, with Law & Order: SVU (8.1 million, 2.6) winning the 10 p.m. hour, yet sliding 10 percent.