Nellie Andreeva

Fox and its The X Factor (3.3/9 in adults 18-49, down 6% from last week’s fast nationals) won the first Wednesday of the season, which featured a slew of returning series opening lower than last fall, a respectable premiere for ABC’s The Neighbors and disappointing launch of NBC’s new Wednesday comedy block.

ABC’s Wednesday comedy lineup returned with an hourlong season premiere of The Middle (2.8/9), down 10% from last season’s hourlong opener, followed by the season premiere of Modern Family (5.5/15). The comedy, coming off another dominating performance at the Emmys on Sunday, was down 8% from last year’s debut. At 9:30 PM, the series premiere of new alien comedy The Neighbors (3.3/9) was actually up a tenth from the season premiere in the time slot of Happy Endings last fall with a so-so 60% retention of its Modern Family lead-in, up from 57% for Happy Ending‘s premiere last September. It was a good sampling opportunity for Neighbors, which is moving to its permanent 8:30 PM slot next week. ABC aired a Revenge recap at 10 PM.

NBC’s Wednesday comedy block of newbies Animal Practice (1.4/4) and Guys With Kids (1.6/5) got off to a slow start, with both series down sharply from their previews. The number is especially disappointing for Animal Practice given the show’s high-profile exposure — the entire pilot aired during the closing ceremony of the London Olympics. (Those Who fans angered by NBC’s decision to put on Animal Practice before the band’s closing ceremony performance must feel vindicated.) From 9-11 PM, the 14th-season premiere of Law & Order: SVU (2.1/6) was down 13% from the veteran’s season premiere at 10 PM last fall. (The number still represents NBC’s best demo rating in the 9-11 slot in a year and a half.)

CBS’ Survivor: Philippines (3.0/9) was down 6% from last week to finish within at tenth of X Factor in the 8 PM hour. Criminal Minds (3.1/8) was down a steep 24% from its season premiere last fall, while CSI (2.5/7) was down 22% from last season’s opener, which introduced new leading man Ted Danson. Still, the 13th-season premiere of the veteran crime drama easily won the 10 PM hour last night and tied the heavily promoted Tuesday premiere of new 10 PM CBS drama Vegas. CBS won the night in total viewers.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.