UPDATE 12:30 PM: Madam Secretary was adjusted up to a 2.0 in adults 18-49 and 14.7 million viewers in the time-adjusted fast nationals, crossing the psychological 2 rating threshold for what is considered a respectable live+same day drama showing these days. CBS only ordered those for the new series, with the rest of the network’s final numbers expected tomorrow.
PREVIOUS 9:30 AM: CBS debuted its fall Sunday lineup last night with the help of a big football overrun that bled four minutes into primetime, further skewing the already unreliable fast national numbers. Because fast nationals have become an increasingly inaccurate currency for scripted series, especially dramas, all broadcast networks will be providing live+3 and live+7 projections, something CBS will start doing tomorrow morning.
With that in mind, new CBS drama series Madam Secretary, starring Tea Leoni as a Secretary of State dealing with global crises and DC politics, debuted with an approximately 1.9 rating among adults 18-49 from 9-10 PM. The number, which may be adjusted in the finals tomorrow, falls between the season premiere of The Amazing Race in the time period last fall (2.0) and the series debut of CBS’ 2013 fall drama Hostages on Monday (1.8). Clearly it’s too early to tell whether Madam Secretary would become an asset like The Amazing Race or fizzle like Hostages did. Because of the NFL double header on CBS, there were a lot of eyeballs available to the network, leading to a big total premiere audience of 14.3 million for Madam Secretary. Why was the audience so old-skewing for an disproportionally small 18-49 rating? Because the football overrun and the new drama were bridged by newsmagazine 60 Minutes, whose fast national numbers (18.2 million, 3.6 in 18-49) were completely distorted by the four-minute football overrun.
Following Madam Secretary, The Good Wife opened its sixth season with 10 million viewers and a 1.3 in 18-49. That currently runs 13% below last year’s Live+same day season premiere in 18-49 but the difference is only .2, a heavily DVR-ed drama like The Good Wife could make up in time-shifted viewing. The Season 6 debut also was up year-to-year in total viewers but CBS launched its Sunday lineup without the lead-in of a double header last fall.
Elsewhere, NBC’s Sunday Night Football logged a 12.3 household rating in the metered markets, down 12% from last week. The finale of Fox’s American Dad (1.4 in 18-49) was up 8% from last week.