UPDATED: NFL football was a major factor in primetime last night as it handed NBC a nightly ratings win, secured Fox’s second place via an overrun and wrecked havoc in CBS’ primetime lineup because of local NFL overruns in 10% of the country, including top markets like New York and Philadelphia.
ABC, the only network that does not carry professional football, got good ratings news about newcomer Pan Am and bad news about veterans Desperate Housewives and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Pan Am (3.1/8 in adults 18-49, 10.9 million) held onto 100% of its Desperate Housewives demo lead-in and added 1.1 million viewers. Pan Am, which gives ABC a second promising new drama this season along with Revenge, which opened to a 3.3/9 on Wednesday, became the first program to build on Desperate Housewives in total viewers since May 2006 when Grey’s Anatomy aired in the Sunday 10 PM slot. Of course, Desperate Housewives is not the ratings juggernaut it once was. The dramedy’s final season opened with a 3.1/7 and 9.8 million viewers last night. That was down 28% from last season’s debut and the series’ lowest rated premiere ever. Its lead-in, back-to-back episodes of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (1.3/4, 2.3/6) were down 13% and 8%, respectively, from last season despite featuring First Lady Michelle Obama.
Following a highly-rated football overrun, Fox’s veteran The Simpsons (3.8/10) was up 3% from last fall’s debut but back then, Fox’s animated lineup did not have a big lead-in from a football overrun on the opening Sunday of the season. (Under their agreements with the NFL, CBS and Fox alternate in carrying the late Sunday game.) The Cleveland Show (3.1/7) was even with its premiere last fall, a half-hour Family Guy (4.1/9) was down 9% from last year, when its season opener was hourlong, and American Dad (3.0/7) was also flat with its debut last season, which was delayed by a week. Family Guy and The Simpsons finished the night as the top 2 non-sports programs of the night in 18-49.
NBC wrapped a mostly disappointing premiere week with a routine Sunday victory, courtesy of Sunday Night Football. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 23-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts, which was missing star quarterback Peyton Manning, drew a 13.2 overnight rating/21 share, up 2% over last year’s Week 3 game (Jets-Dolphins, 13.0/21). It marks Sunday Night Football’s best overnight rating in the six years on the opening Sunday of the TV season. But in the less reliable fast nationals, the game’s 7.2/17 rating in 18-49 was down 22% vs. the fast national result of the corresponding game last fall. NBC is projected to win Sunday night in total viewers and adults 18-49.
Because of the football overrun in 10% of the country where the start of CBS’ primetime was pushed, CBS’ fast nationals are approximate. The season premiere of 60 Minutes (2.6/7) now runs down 16% vs. last September. The Amazing Race (3.0/7) is currently down 21%, the time slot premiere of The Good Wife (2.2/5) is down 12% from its last season opener on Tuesday and CSI: Miami (2.2/5) is down 31%