Show opened to a solid 2.8 million viewers

Lifetime was in good shape Sunday with the debut of its latest original skein, “Drop Dead Diva.”

The Sony Pictures TV dramedy, starring newcomer Brooke Elliott, opened without much lead-in help to a solid 2.8 million viewers in the 9 p.m. hour.

“Diva” delivered the cabler’s best numbers for a series preem since the 2007 bow of “Army Wives,’ generating a 1.6 rating in women 18-49 and 1.9 in femmes 25-54, according to prelim Nielsens.

“Army Wives” followed at 10 p.m. with 3.8 million viewers. It got a boost from its pairing with “Diva,” posting a 7% increase over its season average in women 18-49 (2.3) and a 12% gain in women 25-54 (2.7), which marked a season high for “Wives” in that demo.

The broadcast nets didn’t put up much competition against the “Diva” debut. The first installment of NBC’s disaster miniseries “Meteor” flamed out pretty quickly with an average of 5 million viewers and 1.1 rating/3 share in adults 18-49 in the 9-11 p.m. slot.

Fox topped the weak demo field with a nightly average of 1.5/5 in 18-49 from its animation repeats. CBS took the night in total viewers (6.6 million), thanks to 7 p.m.’s “60 Minutes” (7.9 million) and 8 p.m.’s “Big Brother” (6.8 million).

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