Two series on the opposite ends of their runs had premieres last night — rookie NBC comedy Are You There, Chelsea and departing CW drama One Tree Hill. The series debut of Chelsea (2.3/6 in adults 18-49, 6.4 million total viewers) did far better than the premiere of NBC’s fall comedy in the Wednesday 8:30 PM slot, Free Agents (1.3/4, 3.9 million), and posted the network’s best 18-49 result in the time period this season. Chelsea also built onto its lead-in, the time-slot premiere of Whitney (2.1/5, 6.1 million), which was down 9% from the debut of Up All Night in the time period in September but up 11% from Whitney‘s most recent Thursday telecast December 8. That is NBC’s best 18-49 result in the Wednesday 8 PM half-hour since October 19. NBC’s relatively good news extended to the 9 PM hour, where Harry’s Law (1.4/3, 8.7 million) featuring Erica Durance as Wonder Woman hit a season high in 18-49 and posted its second-largest audience for the the season. At 10 PM, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2.0/5, 8.4 million) was up 5% from five weeks ago and also posted its second-largest viewership of the season. NBC should enjoy the decent 8-10 PM numbers this week because next week its shows will face the premiere of Fox’s American Idol. Fox continued to stay dormant this week before the Idol storm with a Mobbed rerun leading to a new Mobbed (1.3/3, up 8% from last week).

ABC (3.2/8, 8.83 million) dominated the night among adults 18-49, winning every half-hour of primetime. The Middle (3.0/9) and Suburgatory (2.9/8) were even with last week, Modern Family (5.1/13, 12.3) was down 11% (9% from its fast national) but still ranked as the highest-rated and most-watched program Wednesday by a mile, Happy Endings (3.1/8) was down 3% (6% from the fast national), and Revenge (2.4/6) was down a tenth.

CBS’ People’s Choice Awards (2.5/7, 8.9 million) was down 7% from last year in 18-49 and was the awards show’s lowest-rated telecast ever, excluding the WGA strike-impacted 2008 telecast. The special still helped CBS (2.3/6, 8.88 million) edge ABC in total viewers for the night.

The final-season premiere of One Tree Hill (1.74 million viewers, 0.9/2 in 18-49, 1.2/4 in 18-34) at 8 PM posted the series best 18-34 and 18-49 numbers since last February.