Modern Family Modern Family

Modern Family's recent Emmy win gave the show a boost: The ABC comedy drew its highest rating ever on a night when several new shows failed to get much attention.

Family's Season 2 premiere drew 12.6 million viewers and was the night's highest-rated show among adults 18 to 49, according to overnight Nielsen estimates. That demo rating was also a 19 percent improvement over the show's debut last fall.

Before Family, ABC's new comedy Better with You drew 8 million viewers and The Middle pulled in 8.8 million viewers. Despite a strong lead-in and a Jennifer Aniston guest spot, Cougar Town (8.3 million viewers) shed much of Family's audience and was down 25 percent from a year ago. The Whole Truth rounded out the night with a disappointing 4.9 million viewers.

CBS won the night overall, thanks to a very strong start for Criminal Minds (14.1 million viewers) and another solid Survivor: Nicaragua (12 million viewers). New legal drama The Defenders (12.1 million viewers) performed the best among new series, but it was down 28 percent from CSI: NY's performance in the time slot a year ago.

Fox took second place for the night with the two-hour premiere of Hell's Kitchen, which drew 6.6 million viewers.

ABC tied for third with NBC, which premiered J.J. Abrams' married-spy drama Undercovers to an underwhelming 8.6 million viewers. The show was down 13 percent in the demo versus Mercy a year ago. Two hours of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit averaged 10 million viewers, growing 28 percent in the demo from a year ago and scoring its best numbers in the time slot since 2008.

America's Next Top Model (2.8 million viewers) and Hellcats (2.3 million viewers) were on par from the previous week on The CW.