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Is the Honeymoon Over for a Key NBC Series? Season Premiere Matches Historic Low TVbytheNumbers

An NBC series that has performed well for the network in the past had an ominous achievement when it returned Tuesday night for its fall season premiere. TVbytheNumbers.com reports that "Revolution's" season-two debut managed only a 1.8 average rating in the key 18-49 demo, based on Nielsen overnights.

The number matched the drama series' all-time low and was well below half of the 4.1 demo number the show delivered a year ago for its series premiere. The season-two opener also came in below the 2.0 recorded by last year's season finale.

The good news for NBC: Leading out from "Revolution," the two-hour season premiere of "Law & Order: SVU" climbed to a 2.7 average rating in 18-49, rising six-tenths of a point from the premiere's performance a year ago.

The top series of the night was ABC's "Modern Family," fresh off a repeat Emmy win as outstanding comedy series -- the sitcom's fourth in a row. "Family" launched its new season with a 4.1 average in viewers 18-49 for its one-hour premiere, off the pace from its 5.5 for last year's debut but enough to help ABC squeeze out a ratings win for the night.

Elsewhere on ABC, the half-hour season premiere of "The Middle" slipped a half-point from last year's hour installment to a 2.4, while the new James Caan sitcom "Back in the Game" got off to a disappointing start with a 2.2 to rank as the lowest-rated fall comedy premiere on ABC since 2009. The season premiere of "Nashville" wasn't much help, plunging seven-tenths of a ratings point from last year's premiere to a 2.1 average.

Fox, which opened the season ahead of its broadcast competition, chugged its way to a competitive second-place finish on the strength of its two-hour "The X Factor," which improved on last week's 2.2 average in the 18-49 demo to deliver a 2.5.

CBS was in the hunt in a tight race among the big four nets, but its numbers were down: "Survivor" notched a series low, slipping three-tenths from last week's premiere to a 2.3 in adults 18-49. The season opener of "Criminal Minds" settled for a 2.8, off the pace from a 3.1 a year ago. And "CSI" fell four-tenths from last year's opener to a 2.1 for the season premiere.

The numbers for prime time overall show ABC on top in the 18-49 demo with a 2.8 average rating, followed by Fox (2.5 average), CBS (2.4), NBC (2.4) and Univision (1.4). A highly competitive race for total viewers among the big four broadcast networks saw CBS come in at No. 1 with 9.9 million, followed by ABC (8.8 million), NBC (8.6 million) and Fox (7.6 million), with Univision well off the pace (3.5 million).