Nellie Andreeva

Viewers went out looking for fresh scripted programming last night, with all scripted series posting double-digit gains in their return to originals. Topping the gain list (although off a small base) was Fox’s drama Human Target, whose 2 back-to-back episodes drew a 1.7/5 in adults 18-49, up 21% from the comic book adaptation’s last first-run episode at 8 PM on Dec. 22. Fox (1.7/5, 6.3 million) finished fourth for the night.

Among ABC’s Wednesday comedies, The Middle (2.8/9) was up the most, 17% vs. its last original on Dec. 8. Better with You (2.5/7) was up 14%, the same as flagship series Modern Family (4.8/13), which was the top-rated program on the night by a mile. At 9:30 PM, Cougar Town (2.9/8) was up 12%. ABC’s demo average was dragged down by the 10 PM Primetime special Extreme Weight Loss: Celebrities Tell All (1.6/5). The network (2.7/8, 7.4 million) still managed to finish as No.1 in 18-49, tied with NBC (2.7/8, 9.4 million), which was tops in total viewers. NBC aired Minute to Win It (2.1/6), which was down 5% from its last original on Dec. 21 but beat CBS’ Live to Dance in the demo, and a two-hour Law & Order: SVU (2.9/8, 10.7 million), which was up 16% vs. Dec. 1 to post its highest 18-49 rating since premiere week, when it also aired from 9-11 PM, and hit a season high in total viewers.

CBS (2.4/7, 8.9 million) logged a rare second finish in total viewers with Paula Abdul’s Live to Dance reality series (1.8/5, 7.8 million) at 8 PM down 25% from its 8-10 PM Tuesday premiere in 18-49. From 9-11 PM, the 37th Annual People’s Choice Awards (2.7/8, 9.5 million), which crowned CBS freshmen Hawaii Five-0 and $#*! My Dad Says as favorite new drama/comedy series, was down 21% in 18-49 from last year’s telecast for its second lowest demo result behind the Writers Strike-impacted 2008 edition. On the bright side, the awards show won the 9-11PM in the younger 18-34 demographic.

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