The ratings power of crossovers was in full display last night with big returns for a Frozen-themed Once Upon A Time and a The Simpsons-flavored Family Guy.
Frozen bestowed some of its box-office magic on ABC’s Once Upon A Time. Kicking off its hyped Frozen arc, Once opened its fourth season with a 3.4 fast national rating among adults 18-49 and 9.3 million viewers. That was up 31% in 18-49 from last fall’s Season 3 premiere and 48% from the two-hour May finale, earning the fairytale drama’s best numbers in nearly two years. Given Frozen’s huge popularity among younger moviegoers, Once not surprisingly hit series highs with teens and kids.
The momentum did not carry over to the rest of ABC’s Sunday dramas. The second-season debut of Resurrection at 9 PM posted a respectable 2.2 in 18-49 but that was down 42% from the drama’s series premiere in March. Things got bleaker at 10 PM where Revenge drew a 1.4, down 39% from last fall’s opener.
Just like CBS did last Sunday, Fox kicked off its new fall lineup with some help from football. The NFL lead-in and possibly the buzz surrounding the demise of a character boosted The Simpsons (3.9), up 34% from last fall’s season premiere.
The Simpsons also helped Family Guy take a leap at 9 PM. The hourlong Simpsons Guy crossover episode of Seth MacFarlane’s animated comedy delivered a 4.5 in 18-49, up a big 73% from last fall’s season premiere and the series’ highest-rated episode in four years.
Sandwiched between the two highly rated animated comedies, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2.6) did OK, matching its series premiere last fall but failing to capitalize on its larger lead-in.
With no football lead-in, CBS’ Sunday lineup fell from last week. As expected, the drop was steepest at 7 PM, with 60 Minutes (1.1) off by 69% from last Sunday, when it directly followed the game. The 30% second-week drop for Madam Secretary (1.4) at 8 PM was more disconcerting. The DC drama very quickly has declined to ratings levels its companion The Good Wife took several seasons to slip to. Speaking of The Good Wife (1.3), it was down just a fraction, -7% from its season premiere last week. Veteran CSI made its debut in its new Sunday 10 PM slot with a 1.4, down -30% from last season’s premiere.
Madam Secretary did far better in total viewers (12.7 million), holding onto 86% of its premiere audience and ranking as the night’s most watched program. The Good Wife (11.2 million) actually added 140,000 viewers from its season premiere last week.
Despite a 24-0 blowout by halftime, NBC won the night with Sunday Night Football. In metered markets, last night’s New Orleans Saints-Dallas Cowboys game averaged a 13.7 household rating from 8:30-11 PM. That was up 11% from last Sunday’s game and 5% from last year’s Cowboys-Saints SNF faceoff in November.