Sunday Night Ratings: HOUSEWIVES Reach New Low, Good Start For PAN AM, GOOD WIFE Down

In the preliminary Nielsen numbers in from Sunday night, DESPERATE WIVES debuted with a 3.1 adults 18-49 rating down 28% from last fall's premiere. It was the show's lowest premiere rating ever (the show average nearly 10 million viewers for the whole hour).

Meanwhile, PAN AM also had a 3.1 A18-49 rating which was up 7% from the BROTHERS & SISTERS premiere last season (the show scored nearly 11 million viewers and may top it once final numbers are in).

THE GOOD WIFE's Sunday night season premiere scored a 2.2 A18-49 ratings, down 12% from last year when the show was aired on Tuesday nights.

Here's the ABC press release touting their shows:

"Desperate Housewives" (9:00-10:00 p.m.)
Opposite heavy NFL-fueled competition during the 9:00 p.m. hour on Sunday from NBC ("Sunday Night Football") and Fox (NFL overrun-boosted comedy premieres - "Family Guy"/"American Dad"), ABC's 8th season premiere of "Desperate Housewives" towered over CBS' season premiere of "The Good Wife" by 41% in Adults 18-49 (3.1/7 vs. 2.2/5). In addition, the ABC drama qualified as Sunday's No. 1 entertainment program with Women 18-49.

* Pacing ahead of where it finished out last season, ABC's "Desperate Housewives" topped its 2011 May Sweep average in Adults 18-49 (+3% - 3.1/7 vs. 3.0/7).

DVR Playback Note: Sunday's biggest gainer during the 2010-11 TV season via time-shifting, "Desperate Housewives" increased by 2.0 million viewers and by an additional 9-tenths of an Adult 18-49 rating point (+26%) from the first reported L+SD numbers to finalized L+7 Day numbers.

"Pan Am" (10:00-11:00 p.m.)
Building on its "Housewives" lead-in by 1.1 million viewers and holding 100% of its Adult 18-49 audience opposite NBC's "Sunday Night Football" in the 10 o'clock hour, ABC's series debut of "Pan Am" took flight as Sunday's most-watched scripted TV show. In fact, "Pan Am" became the first program to build on "Desperate Housewives" in overall viewers since "Grey's Anatomy" in May 2006 (on 5/14/06). The No. 1 non-sports program during the 10:00 p.m. hour, the new ABC drama beat out the premiere of CBS' time-period veteran "CSI: Miami" by 9% in Total Viewers (10.9 million vs. 10.0 million) and by 41% in Adults 18-49 (3.1/8 vs. 2.2/5).

* Improving the hour year to year in viewers (+14%) and young adults (+7%) over the year-ago opener of "Brother & Sisters" (9.5 million and 2.9/8), "Pan Am" posted ABC's best season-opening numbers in the time period in 3 years - since 9/28/08. In addition, "Pan Am" produced ABC's biggest audience in the slot with an hour-long series telecast in more than 2-1/2 years - since 3/1/09.

A note about increasing DVR penetration and year-to-year rating comparisons: Year-to-year rating comparisons based on the Live + Same Day data stream are distorted by the level of DVR penetration in the Nielsen sample, which has jumped up to 42% currently, from 38% at the same point in 2010. More viewers are watching shows on their own timetables, which may not be reflected in the overnight next day numbers. The only truly valid year-to-year comparison would be one based on the Live + 7 Day metric, once those stats are released by Nielsen.

Source: The Nielsen Company (Fast Affiliate, Live + Same Day Ratings), 9/25/11.

We're still waiting for numbers from E!'s DIRTY SOAP launch. What shows did you enjoy the most on Sunday night?


  1. I confess I am not a regular viewer...but I did watch The Good Wife to see Larry Brygmann! I am also going to be sure and watch Jake Silbermann's episode.

  2. I haven't watched it yet. How was Larry's appearance, Cheryl? Did he have a significant role?