By James Hibberd
Updated October 18, 2012 at 03:21 PM EDT
Credit: Jack Rowand/The CW

And TV critics everywhere have an existential crisis.

ABC’s Nashville (6.8 million, 2.0 adults 18-49 rating), probably the best-reviewed new show of the fall, dropped a sharp 29 percent for its second episode. That’s not good.

Another new 10 p.m. Wednesday night drama, NBC’s Chicago Fire (5.9 million, 1.5), dropped 21 percent. That’s not good either.

Is there any uplifting news about a new primetime broadcast drama last night?

Yes there is on — brace yourself — The CW! The second week of Arrow (3.5 million, 1.3) was exactly the same in the demo as its premiere, though the action-drama shed some of its debut’s impressive total audience. Most of the viewership dip is from viewers age 50 and above, so I guess they weren’t as impressed by Stephen Amell mastering the Salmon Ladder. The CW is also happy Supernatural (2.2 million, 1.0) was steady too.

CBS was out in front for the night, with Survivor (10.1 million, 2.7), Criminal Minds (11.2 million, 3.1) and CSI (10.6 million, 2.4) — most were fairly close to last week, though CSI was down 8 percent.

ABC’s The Middle (8.3 million, 2.5), The Neighbors (6.5 million, 1.9) and Modern Family (12.1 million, 4.6) were all close to last week’s numbers. ABC also had the return of Suburgatory (7.6 million, 2.8), down 15 percent from last year’s series debut. Nashville was almost certainly hurt by having a lead-in from Suburgatory rather than Modern Family at 9:30 p.m. this week, but the return of the comedy series still provided a decent ramp up for the country music drama.

NBC is still insisting on airing Animal Practice (3.8 million, 1.0), down 9 percent, and Guys With Kids (4.3 million, 1.4), along with Law & Order: SVU (6.3 million, 1.6).

Fox ratings are all messed up due to baseball. Here’s the story on that and when you can watch X-Factor.

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