ABC's Pan Am enjoyed a smooth if not soaring takeoff with 10.87 million aboard, scoring a 3.1 rating among 18-to-49-year-olds to land second place against CSI: Miami's 10th season premiere.
The CBS procedural managed to snare 9.98 million and a 2.2 rating in the industry-prized demo — down 31 percent from a year earlier and the series' worst autumn premiere — while of course NBC's Sunday Night Football won the final hour of prime time — and the entire night. The game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts scored 16.74 million fans (7.0 demo rating) while averaging 17.97 million (7.2) overall.
Meet Pan Am's flight crew
The 1960s drama about stewardesses improved on its time slot predecessor, Brothers & Sisters, by 7 percent in the demo and built on the audience of Desperate Housewives' final season premiere, which lured 9.78 million viewers and a 3.1 demo rating at 9/8c — beating the 2.2 for The Good Wife's Season 3 premiere. The CBS show, which grabbed 10.50 million people, declined by 12 percent in the demo compared with its Season 2 start, when it aired Tuesdays at 10/9c.
While the numbers were skewed by a football overrun on CBS, the ratings also looked bad for the network at 8/7c, when the preliminary Nielsens showed that while the start of Amazing Race's 19th edition was a solid second in the hour with 10.52 million people, the 3.0 demo marked a 21 percent decrease against last fall.
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The ninth-season opener of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition — featuring first lady Michelle Obama — invited in 7.09 million (1.8) over two hours.
From 8 to 10 on Fox, the animation block got under way with mixed results: the Season 23 premiere of The Simpsons — the longest-running scripted show in TV history — attracted 7.91 million viewers (3.8 demo rating, up 3 percent vs. last fall); the third season of The Cleveland Show debuted with 6.02 million (3.1, even); Family Guy's 11th-season premiere started off at 7.63 million (4.1, down 9 percent) and the Season 7 kickoff of American Dad! netted 5.72 million (3.0, even).