The regular season debut of the venerable franchise on ESPN decimated the competition on both cable and broadcast television, attracting 14.57 million viewers for the NFL game between the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins and a 6.3 rating among 18-to-49-year-olds. Brady made the hot South Florida night hotter, passing for 517 yards — merely the fifth-best in league history. And with the promise of more excitement like that, ESPN is sure to lure solid numbers throughout the season.
The two-part Bachelor Pad finale, occupying all of ABC's prime time, averaged 7.07 million viewers and a 2.3 demo rating, preliminary Nielsen data showed.
While the 2.8 rating among the advertiser-coveted demo marked an increase of 28 percent, the number could be artificially high because Monday Night Football was carried by ABC's Boston affiliate. Also skewing the numbers for Monday night was the 35-minute overrun of the U.S. Open men's tennis championship match on CBS.
A solid runner-up in viewership was the first-run edition of Hell's Kitchen, which cooked for 5.76 million people and garnered a 2.4 demo rating at 9/8c on Fox.
The Miss Universe Pageant, however, could only wear a sash that read: "Third Runner-Up." The 60th annual program lured 5.21 million (1.6 demo rating) to NBC.
Meantime, as the daytime season got under way Monday, Dr. Oz was in the house more than any other show. His show — with the benefit of taking over most of The Oprah Winfrey Show's time slots across the nation (80-plus) — pulled a 3.8 household rating and enjoyed a 36 percent increase over last year's season premiere. The View was next with 3.5 — up 8 percent from the year-earlier debut. Both shows seemed poised to fill the void left by Winfrey, daytime's queen for a quarter century.
The news wasn't so good for Anderson Cooper. The debut of the CNN anchor's Anderson finished next to last, beating only The Wendy Williams Show. His show featuring Amy Winehouse's grieving parents did, however, have to compete with tennis, which started about 4:15 p.m. EDT.