Nellie Andreeva

The new Law & Order spinoff Law & Order: Los Angeles did OK in its debut on what was a down night all around, with all other series except Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen posting double-digit declines from last week. Topping the list was NBC’s freshman spy drama Undercovers, which was down an alarming 24% from its soft premiere last week. (the rest of the drops were between 10-19%) Also hitting dangerously low levels is ABC’s new 10 PM legal drama The Whole Truth.

Law & Order: LA (3.1/9 in adults 18-49, 10.5 million viewers overall), won the 10 PM by a wide margin but was down 11% in the demo from what Law & Order: SVU did in the slot last week, while matching its total viewer delivery. Still, LOLA was up 19% from SVU‘s premiere in the slot in March and up 63% vs. what Jay Leno did in the hour last fall. As for SVU (2.7/7, 9.2 million), it was down 16% at 9 PM from last week despite featuring a publicized guest appearance by Jennifer Love Hewitt. The J.J. Abrams-produced Undercovers opened the night with a 1.6/5 and 7.1 million viewers, finishing distant fourth in the hour in 18-49.

The truth about new legal drama The Whole Truth is not pretty. The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced series posted a 1.3/4 in 18-49 and 4.7 million viewers. While its decline from the premiere was relatively modest (13%), since it started off pretty low, the series is fast approaching Lone Star cancellation zone ratings. ABC’s new comedy Better with You (2.1/6) was down 16% from the premiere but benefited by its hammock position between The Middle (2.4/8, down 11%) and Modern Family (4.5/12, down 12%). Modern Family once again ranked as Wednesday’s top program in 18-49. Cougar Town (2.9/8) at 9:30 PM was off 16% from its season premiere.

After flying high for two weeks in its new Wednesday 8 PM slot, CBS’ Survivor: Nicaragua (3.4/11) fell down 15% week-to-week to post its lowest-rated regular episode ever. Criminal Minds (3.6/10) didn’t get a boost from the final episode of exiting regular A.J. Cook, down 10% from last week but drew the night’s largest audience, 14.4 million. The network’s new legal dramedy The Defenders (2.5/8, 10.4 million) was down 14% from its premiere and finished second in the 10 PM hour behind LOLA in 18-49 while virtually tying the NBC drama in total viewers. CBS won the night overall in 18-49 (3.2/9) and total viewers (12.3 million)

Fox’s two-hour Hell’s Kitchen (2.9/9) is chugging along, even with last week and delivering another second place finish for the network.

CW’s America’s Next Top Model continues to grow after its record-low premiere. Last night, it drew the cycle’s largest audience (2.9 million) and drew 1.4/5 in adults 18-34, beating Undercovers in the young demo. Hellcats held steady in all key categories.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.

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