“X Factor” debuts with a thud; “Modern Family” stands out

For all the hype The X Factor received over the summer, you’d think it would roll in here Wednesday night and just destroy the competition.

Um, no.

The first Wednesday night of the 2011-12 season featured a showdown between two reality TV heavyweights and an Emmy-winning comedy whose audience continues to grow.

The premiere of the much-hyped of Fox’s X Factor drew 12.5 million viewers in its 7-9 pm (CT) time slot yesterday and a 4.4 adult 18-49 demo rating – far short of what American Idol drew last  season (an average of 25 million viewers and a 8.3 adult demo rating.) Not only that, X Factor was beaten in its second hour by ABC’s Modern Family with a 6.1 adult demo rating and a 14.5 million viewers (Modern was a multiple-award winner at the recent Emmy Award, including one for Outstanding Comedy.) CBS’ Criminal Minds came in second with a 4.1 and 14.1 million viewers.

CBS’ long-running Survivor also hung in there tough against X Factor, with a 3.2 adult demo in the first hour, while ABC’s The Middle had a 3.1.

Given all this, Simon Cowell’s new show should be a ratings disappointment. On the other hand, Fox did win the evening overall among total viewers and adults 18-49 – but  not by the blowout margins everyone was expecting.

Meanwhile, NBC was out of the running with their prime-time lineup with NBC coming in fourth for its lineup from 7-9 pm and third at 9 pm with only 7.6 million viewers for Law & Order: SVU, behind CBS’ CSI (with 12 million viewers) and ABC’s debut of Revenge (with 10 million viewers).  Not a great start for the peacock network so far this season as this is the third consecutive evening NBC has remained out of the competitive loop.

Speaking of non-competitive, CW was hammered by future T Dog Media Blog TV Hall Of Shame member H8R (0.4) and Top Model (0.7). Joe Adalian of Vulture mentioned on Twitter that H8R finished behind Noggin’s Dora The Explorer in total viewers and the adult demo – yes, the adult demo.

Count H8R in the what-program-will-get-canned-first-this-season sweepstakes, along with NBC’s Playboy Club and Free Agents, and ABC’s inspid remake of Charlie’s Angels, which premiered tonight. The winner (or loser) gets into The T Dog Media Blog TV Hall Of Shame, where bad television lives. Oh what the hell, it doesn’t matter – they’ll all get in anyhow.