‘Modern Family’ Triumphs Over Simon’s ‘X Factor’

Sophia Vergara of "Modern Family" beat Simon Cowell and "The X Factor" in the Wednesday ratings (Photos: Fox, ABC)

Sophia Vergara of "Modern Family" beat Simon Cowell and "The X Factor" in the Wednesday ratings (Photos: Fox, ABC)

A funny thing happened to “The X Factor” on the way to its dream of scoring “American Idol”-sized ratings in its premiere Wednesday — it came up against TV’s most honored comedy series.

That series — ABC’s “Modern Family,” which just last Sunday accumulated a boatload of Emmy Awards — was TV’s top-rated show Wednesday night in its one-hour season premiere. “ModFam” drew 14.292 million viewers from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. (8-9c) and, in the process, took a bite out of “The X Factor,” which attracted 12.561 million in the hour when it competed with the lauded ABC sitcom.

“X Factor’s” first hour drew 11.721 million from 8 to 9 (7-8c) for a two-hour average of 12.141 million. The “X Factor” audience tally — though respectable for any prime-time show on the broadcast networks these days — nevertheless fell short of Fox’s and Simon Cowell’s hopes and expectations for the fall talent-competition series that emerged this past summer as the new season’s most publicized new show.

Part Two of “The X Factor’s” big premiere — another two hours — airs Thursday night starting at 8/7c on Fox.

Though Fox may have hoped for more from “The X Factor” (indeed, the show is seen as the network’s answer to “Idol,” which has come to dominate broadcast TV in winter and spring), the network still won the night with its 12.141 million average. However, it didn’t win by much.

Elsewhere in the Wednesday night premiere ratings, according to the Nielsen overnights:

ABC’s “Revenge”: The network’s new Emily VanCamp drama “Revenge” benefited from its “Modern Family” and “The Middle” lead-ins by attracting 10.147 million viewers in its debut at 10 p.m (9c). ABC noted that “Revenge” scored well with women — as the network hoped would be the case for this “vengeance-is-hers” prime-time soap. At 8/7c, 9.638 million tuned in to see Patricia Heaton and Ray Romano, co-stars on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” reunited in the one-hour season premiere of “The Middle” on ABC.

Ted Danson: How’d TV’s veteran leading man do in his debut as the new boss on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”? The venerable series returned for its 12th season in a new day and time — Wednesday at 10 p.m. (9c) — and attracted 12.588 million viewers. The show’s lead-in — the season premiere of “Criminal Minds” at 9/8c — did somewhat better: 14.07 million. CBS came in second for the night — averaging 12.338 million from 8 to 11 (7-10c).

NBC sitcoms fall back to earth: Hank Azaria’s “Free Agents” drew a paltry 3.859 million viewers at 8:30/7:30c. “Up All Night,” with Christina Applegate and Will Arnett, attracted 6.037 million at 8/7c.

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