Ratings: Modern Family Returns Strong, Live To Dance Stumbles Hard

Nielsen families so warmly welcomed Modern Family back from the holiday break that the ABC comedy topped the night in both total viewers (11.76 million) and the demos (scoring a 4.8, the series’ third-best rating ever).

Meanwhile, Paula Abdul’s CBS Live To Dance show suffered a major misstep in its second night, plunging 25 percent in both viewers (to 7.6 mil) and the demos.

Tuesday’s Ratings: Did Paula’s Dance Show Step Lively?

Elsewhere on Wednesday night:

• Like Modern Family — and despite facing the well-promoted Live To Dance — both ABC’s The Middle (9.3 million total viewers) and Better With You (7.43 mil) gained audience and in the demos versus their previous outings. Cougar Town also enjoyed bumps in viewers (6.75 mil) and the demos (up 15 percent).

• Fox’s one-two punch of Human Target was up 6 percent in total viewers (with 6.3 million) and 14 percent in the demos.

• CBS’s coverage of The People’s Choice Awards (see my recaplet here) averaged 9.4 million viewers and a 2.6 demo across its two-hour run. In the 9 o’clock hour it was bested by Modern Family and the first serving of SVU; come 10 pm, it trailed the second hour of SVU (which drew 10.9 million viewers).

What did you watch this Wednesday night? And if you said the awards show… my sympathies.