But did Downton Abbey cover the spread? The PBS series finished second to Super Bowl XLVI among TV viewers.
The Emmy-winning program attracted 4 million viewers at 9 o'clock Sunday, outpacing reruns of CBS' CSI Miami (3.13 million), Fox's animated tandem of Family Guy (2.41 million) and American Dad! (2.29 million) and ABC's The Middle (1.76 million) as the broadcast networks virtually forfeited the night. Those were paltry numbers for those shows, while Downton Abbey wasn't off by much (its first three episode averaged 4.3 million and the fourth 4.8 million before Sunday's 4 million).
Maybe because it qualifies as fantasy fare in the Great Recession, Undercover Boss grabbed its biggest audience since January 2011, according to Nielsen overnights. Meanwhile, the implosion of Kim Kardashian's marriage to Kris Humphries set series records for E!.
Josh Lucas, Molly Parker
No terra firma for The Firm. Its two-hour debut stands on this shaky ground — 46 percent below the demo rating of The Cape's premiere a year ago, making it the worst all-time start of an NBC regular season drama. Quite telling: the show lost viewers with each succeeding half-hour. Surely, the network is missing Sunday Night Football already.
The 2011 American Music Awards entertained 12.04 million fans — a 3 percent increase over last year — and posted a 4.3 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen overnights.
Pan Am increased its viewership to 5.68 million Sunday night, up some 10 percent from last week's series low, Nielsen overnights show.
It's a long way for the ABC series (which also rose slightly to a 1.8 rating among the 18-to-49 set) from the 10.87 million to which it premiered. ...
It's not happily ever after just yet.
Once Upon a Time, a consistent if not blockbuster performer for ABC, was down slightly for a second week in a row, to 11.37 million (compared with 11.64 million in Week 2 and 12.79 million for its debut) and a 3.7 demo rating. Amazing Race lured 9.98 million (2.6 demo rating, a season low).
Pan Am lost some altitude in Week 2, recruiting 7.75 million viewers — less than three-quarters of its premiere audience.
The ABC program, which took off with 10.87 million aboard, scored a 2.5 rating among 18-to-49-year-olds Sunday night, a 19 percent fall from last week's 3.1, Nielsen overnights showed.
Remember the hurricane that was supposed to sweep through three of the Fox's animated comedies last May? They were pulled at the last minute after deadly tornadoes hit the southeastern U.S. just days before the episodes of The Cleveland Show, Family Guy and American Dad were set to air.
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.
Fox announced its fall premiere dates on Thursday, which will stretch from late September until Thanksgiving Eve.
The schedule will kick off with the Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 18, at 8/7c.
Glee is back for Season 3 on Tuesday, Sept. 20, followed by new series New Girl at 9/8c and the returning comedy Raising Hope at 9:30/8:30c. New Girl stars Zooey Deschanel as a brokenhearted elementary school teacher who moves away from her ex and bunks with three unruly guys.