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ABC 'Black-ish' premieres strong as 'Survivor' surprises

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Blackish

ABC’s launch of the first black family sitcom on a major broadcast network in years got off to a good start Wednesday night. The boldly titled Black-ish, starring Anthony Anderson, opened to strong numbers after the return of Modern Family and ranked as the night’s second highest-rated show.

Black-ish had 10.8 million viewers and a 3.3 rating among adults 18-49 at 9:30 p.m. The big mitigating factor here is the size of its lead-in from Modern Family (10.9 million and a 3.7)—last year’s Super Fun Night, for instance, opened to a 3.2 in this slot and quickly faded. Yet ABC points out Black-ish had the highest-ever retention of Modern Family viewers for a regular comedy debut in this slot.

Opening acts The Middle (7.4 million, 2.1) and The Goldbergs (7 million, 2.3) performed well, while 10 p.m.’s Nashville season 3 opener (5.6 million, 1.5) was down 25 percent from last year. ABC is particularly happy with The Goldbergs, since this is a new timeslot for the show on a different night—yet its rating was the 1980s-set comedy’s second-best ever.

Over on CBS, Survivor (9.6 million, 2.7) had some upbeat news: The 90-minute premiere was up a tick from last year. (While the ultra-veteran impresses in the ratings every year, it’s not often Survivor returns higher.) The 90-minute finale of Big Brother (7 million, 2.6) was likewise strong.

On NBC, the time-slot premiere of Mysteries of Laura (9.9 million, 1.5) was down 25 percent from last week’s 10 p.m. preview. Given the show’s reviews and jeering online reception, only losing a fourth of its demo rating after down-shifting to 8 p.m.—against heavier competition—is actually a relief. Law & Order: SVU (10.1 million, 2.1) was down 22 percent from last year and the Chicago PD‘s premiere (8.4 million, 1.9) almost matched last year’s series debut. NBC has been rocking the 10 p.m. slots this week.

Like Mysteries of Laura, Fox’s Red Band Society (3.4 million, 1.0) had its second episode and dropped about the same amount (23 percent). Unlike Mysteries, however, the sick-kids drama doesn’t have any more cushion—and is going Code Blue.

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