Criminal Minds and Modern Family were on top. Cougar Town was Cougar Town, and not Friends, Jennifer Aniston or no. And one freshman show was as lonely as Lone Star.
A ratings rundown of Wednesday's premieres:
• Criminal Minds (14.1 million viewers, per prelim estimates): The only show it didn't beat was iteself (last year's premiere was slightly bigger).
• Modern Family (12.6 million): Overall, it was about even with last fall, but the Emmy win was not for naught. The second-year comedy was Glee-like dominant among the demographically desirable.
• The Defenders (12.1 million): At first glance, a great start. At second glance, CSI: NY had a greater, stronger start for CBS in the 10 p.m. slot last fall.
• Law & Order: SVU (10.1 million): You know how some of the long-running crime shows have been a little off, Nielsen-wise, in the first few nights of the season? Not this one.
• The Middle (8.8 million) and Better With You (8 million): Sure, the comedies got dominated at 8 p.m. by Survivor: Nicaragua (12.5 million), but they didn't get beat down. The Middle even hit a series high.
• Undercovers (8.6 million) and Hell's Kitchen (5.9 million): Don't let the audience counts fool you: The Fox cooking show was demographically competitive at 8 p.m.; the NBC spy show wasn't even Mercy.
• Cougar Town (8.3 million): If you forget that Cougar Town had a totally hot debut last fall (11.4 million), but remember that the Courteney Cox comedy cooled as the season wore on, then you'll see the second-season opener, with a guest appearance by Aniston, was totally fine.
• The Whole Truth (4.9 million): The good news is Maura Tierney is back. The bad news is everything else. This one went boom.