American Idol returned for its third season on ABC on Sunday, with the venerable music competition show scoring a night-leading 1.5 Live+Same Day rating in the adults 18-49 demographic and 8.05 million total viewers. It led a night of primetime that otherwise took a breath after a stretch that included the Grammys, the Super Bowl and the Oscars the past three Sundays.
The two-hour auditions kickoff for American Idol‘s 18th season overall bested by two tenths the demo rating for the show’s May’s season finale, which had drawn 7.71 million viewers in comparable early numbers, and was off two tenths from its last season premiere in March. Last night, it gave the network the overall demo victory.
ABC started the night with America’s Funniest Home Videos (0.8, 5.61M), which was Sunday’s second highest-rated show. Fellow 7 PMer 60 Minutes (0.6, 8.08M) was the night’s most-watched program, helping CBS to the nightly viewership win.
CBS’ lineup included God Friended Me (0.4, 5.37M), down four tenths from its last original January 12 when CBS had aired an NFL playoff game in the afternoon, followed by NCIS: Los Angeles (0.6, 6.03M), down two tenths. NCIS: New Orleans (0.5, 5.20M) followed in its new 10 PM time slot, and was off four tenths and more than 2 million viewers in its return after more than two months away. It still bested the Live+SD averages in the time period logged by the final season of Madam Secretary earlier in the season.
NBC showcased the second episode of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (0.4, 2.02M), which made its regular time-slot debut at 9 PM following a repeat of its pilot. Zoey’s 9 PM result marked NBC’s highest in-season 18-49 rating in the slot since May (excluding sports and the Golden Globes). The pilot episode, previewed on January 7, has become NBC’s top digital launch on record in Live+35 day, the network says. Clips from the premiere have amassed 41 million YouTube views to date.
At 10 PM, NBC aired the Season 3 premiere of Good Girls (0.4, 1.99M), which was off a tenth from last May’s season finale and three tenths from its Season 2 premiere in March. Like Zoey’s, a large portion of Good Girls’ audience is digital, with 43% of last season’s L+35 rating coming from digital sources, the highest percentage for an NBC drama. The series also has a rich deal with Netflix where it is believed to be among the popular acquired titles.
Fox’s lineup last night included the series premiere of Duncanville (0.5, 1.51M), from the Parks and Rec team of Amy Poehler and Mike and Julie Scully, sandwiched between fresh episodes of The Simpsons (0.7, 1.97M) and Bob’s Burgers (0.6, 1.51M). It was below the fall debut of new animated comedy Bless the Harts in the same time period (0.7 in 18-49 L+SD), but had a similar lead-in retention, 72% vs. 78% for Bless the Harts. Family Guy (0.6, 1.62M) wrapped the animated block’s night in its first time in originals since January 5.
The CW’s Batwoman (0.2, 860,000) and Supergirl (0.2, 670K) were even with their last originals.