Falling Skies

TNT's Falling Skies soared as cable TV's most-watched series debut of the year, attracting more than 5.9 million viewers, according to preliminary Nielsen data.

Of that total, Sunday night's two-hour kickoff starring Noah Wyle also grabbed 2.6 million-plus among 18-to-49-year-olds.

The cast of Falling Skies discusses why their alien invasion tale could work

The Steven Spielberg-produced show, about the aftermath of an alien invasion that devastated much of the Earth, put up the best numbers for a scripted series debut since July 12, 2010, when TNT's Rizzoli & Isles snared an audience of 7.6 million.

Of course, in the wake of similarly alien-themed dramas like V and The Event crashing and burning, the question will be whether Falling Skies will plummet after its promising start.

Catch up on today's news

On broadcast television, NBC's Miss USA Pageant attracted 7.25 million viewers and a 2.2 demo rating — 57 percent higher than last year — in the last two hours of prime time. It was the most-watched Miss USA extravaganza since 2007.

The 38th annual Daytime Emmy Awards averaged 5.42 million viewers on CBS from 8 to 10, getting just a 0.8 rating in the coveted demo — a 27 percent decline from the 2010 show that ran 9 to 11 p.m.

Actually, the most-watched programming in Sunday's prime time, which starts an hour earlier than other nights (7/6c), was the final half hour of NBC's coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament's final round, in which 22-year-old Rory McIlroy roared to a multiple record-setting victory. Some 9.01 million people watched the star-making conclusion.