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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Sept. 22) -- Two words: Jim Belushi

In another triumph of the uncluttered mind, Jim Belushi has segued from the long-running, critically reviled According to Jim to what looks like another keeper.

CBS' The Defenders, which in fact is quite entertaining, dominated Wednesday's 9 p.m. hour in both total D-FW viewers and advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds. That gave CBS11's 10 p.m. newscast another lead-in it can count on while WFAA8 got saddled with another apparent 9 p.m. ABC bomb, The Whole Truth.

Defenders, which stars Belushi and Jerry O'Connell as flamboyant Vegas attorneys modeled after real ones, drew a very nice-sized 325,742 D-FW viewers in keeping the lion's share of its lead-in audience from the preceding season premiere of CBS' Criminal Minds (352,888 viewers).

But Defenders did better with 18-to-49-year-olds than Minds. In fact it was the second biggest draw of the night in that key demographic, beaten only by the season's first new episode of ABC's Modern Family.

Modern Family built a peak at 8 p.m. -- 271,452 total viewers with 185,911 in the 18-to-49 range -- between two ABC valleys. The 7:30 p.m. premiere of Better With You and the 8:30 p.m. season opener of Cougar Town both drew less than half Modern Family's audience in both ratings measurements. ABC's launch of The Whole Truth then fizzled with a distant third-place finish in total viewers and a fourth place performance with 18-to-48-year-olds.

In the 7 p.m. hour, the premiere of NBC's Undercovers edged CBS' Survivor: Nicaragua in total viewers by a score of 230,734 to 217,162. But Fox's first hour of Hell's Kitchen took the 18-to-49 gold, with Survivor second and Undercovers sliding all the way to a fourth place tie with The CW's America's Next Top Model.

In Wednesday's local news derby results, CBS11 topped the 10 p.m. Nielsens in total viewers while sharing the gold with NBC5 among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming on most stations.

Fox4 nipped NBC5 and WFAA8 for the total viewers lead at 6 a.m. and won by a more comfy margin with 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8 and CBS11 tied for first in total viewers at 6 p.m., while Fox4 and CBS11 were deadlocked in the 25-to-54 demographic.

WFAA8 swept the 5 p.m. competitions.