Despite a harsh reception from critics, NBC's Leap of Faith enjoyed a surprisingly strong debut in its post-Friends timeslot. To leading lady Sarah Paulson, numbers are what counts.

"I feel that reviews don't really kill TV as much as they do movies and things," the Jack and Jill alumna tells TV Guide Online. "Because [TV]'s free, people make their own decisions about what they want to watch and it doesn't really matter. In fact, great reviews can't keep a show on the air and bad reviews can't kill one, really, unless nobody's watching."

Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But critical warnings aside, people are tuning in to Faith, aka Sex and the City lite. Naturally, that oft-heard swipe arose from creator Jenny Bicks's past as a scribe for the HBO series. "It's not that Sex and the City is being ripped off," Paulson protests. "It's just that Jenny used her voice there and she's using her voice here. So certain things might sound similar, but I feel like the characters are so different.

"I think it's an inevitable comparison," she concedes diplomatically. "I'm flattered. Sex and the City is a great show. I love it. I watch it. People can compare us to whatever they want, especially something as good as that."

And hey, any publicity is good publicity for a show perched in NBC's cursed timeslot on Thursdays at 8:30 pm/ET. "I was like, 'Oh my god, we're going to get killed,'" confesses the actress — who also portrays Luci Baines Johnson in HBO's upcoming movie A Path to War. "I thought, 'Everyone's going to watch Friends and then switch over to Survivor for the second half hour.' But they really didn't."

Still eager to woo viewers away from the competition, Paulson adds a last request... well, more like a threat. "Tell everyone to watch the show," she laughs, "or I'll come to their houses personally and sit there with them to make sure that they watch it." Are you listening, Nielsen families?