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Promising Signs for ABC's New Comedies

The network promo departments usually are very premature in calling new shows like ABC's "Modern Family" and "Cougar Town" hits.

The key to any new show’s long-term success often can be determined if the second episode is anywhere near as strong as a well-made pilot that attracts a decent-sized audience.

The second episodes of  “Modern Family” and “Cougar Town” with Courteney Cox Wednesday were not quite as funny as the pilots, but at least they were in the neighborhood. Cox’s show also smartly toned down the racy content of the pilot.

The shows finished third in their time slot here, but they were in the ballpark of second place NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU,” which is a good sign. And ABC’s shows are more likely to attract an audience preferred by advertisers than "SVU."

Don't call them hits yet, but the signs are promising here.

What do you think of the two comedies?

And what did you think of the new ABC family comedies that premiered Wednesday night -- "Hank" (which I called ordinary) with Kelsey Grammer and "The Middle" with Patricia Heaton (which I was down the middle on).

They got off to a strong ratings start here, winning the early 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. time slot. But let's see how they do the second week before they are called hits.

-- Alan Pergament 

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