Taking the timeslot (9:30/8:30c) usually occupied by fellow Friends alum Courteney Cox's sitcom, his show greatly improved on her numbers; last week, Cougar Town got 6.6 million. The last time ABC did so well during that half-hour was the September 2009 premiere of Cox's show. (Remember: It's not a zero-sum game between ol' Chandler and Monica — Cougar Town already has been renewed.)
Mr. Sunshine's lead-in, Modern Family, pulled in 13.1 million viewers at 9/8c — matching a series high.
Fox's American Idol dominated the first hour of Wednesday prime time, drawing nearly 23.7 million watchers. It continued a downward trend, however, after attracting 24.9 million last week, 25.2 million two weeks ago, and 26.1 million for its Season 10 premiere three weeks ago. The talent-competition program got an 8.3 rating among 18-to-49-year-olds — down 7.8 percent from a week ago.
Also at 8/7c, a fresh outing of ABC's The Middle averaged 8.8 million viewers, while the finale of CBS' Live to Dance limped to slightly more than 4.8 million. Part 1 of Minute to Win It got nearly 4.8 million on NBC, and almost 1.6 million tuned into a Nikita rerun on the CW.
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Criminal Minds was No. 1 in prime time's second hour with 14.3 million viewers, slightly overshadowing Mr. Sunshine 3.9 vs. 3.7 in the demo when they went head to head. Fox's Human Target again enjoyed being in Idol's wake, with 8.3 million (down, though, from 9.3 million). The second part of Minute to Win It lured 7.4 million viewers, and a rerun of The Vampire Diaries lured just 988,000.
At 10, CBS' Blue Bloods won the hour with 12.5 million viewers. A fresh episode of NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit scored nearly 8.2 million viewers, and ABC's Off the Map charted another slight improvement to 5.5 million.