Dance-themed series 'Shake It Up' draws 6.2 million for Disney Channel

While football had a hold of the adult audience Sunday night, youngsters flocked to Disney Channel, whose series debut of “Shake It Up” drew more than 6 million viewers.

The half-hour buddy comedy, revolving around two girls who land roles as backup dancers on a local show, became the net’s No. 2 series premiere to date by drawing 6.2 million viewers from 8:30 to 9 p.m. — holding onto most of the huge 7.1 million that tuned in for a special hourlong episode of “Hannah Montana” from 7:30 to 8:30. The net’s record for a series preem was “Cory in the House,” which drew 7.6 million for its January 2007 bow.

“Shake It Up” scored well as expected with the under-18 crowd, drawing 2.6 million kids 6-11 and 2.6 million tweens 9-14.

“Hannah Montana,” meanwhile, drew its largest audience in more than three years and attracted Disney Channel’s biggest ever tune-in for the Sunday 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. hour.

Football drew the most eyeballs on the broadcast nets, with CBS dominating the early going with its roughly 65-minute NFL overrun, which was expected to peak at north of 30 million viewers from 7:30 to 8. And NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” figured to draw roughly 18 million for its lopsided Packers-Cowboys contest.

ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” was the night’s top entertainment program among young adults with a 4.0 rating/9 share in 18-49 while drawing 12.6 million viewers overall, per Nielsen prelims.

Fox’s animated comedies returned after a lengthy baseball-related hiatus, led as usual by “Family Guy” (prelim 3.8/9 in 18-49, 8 million viewers overall) and “The Simpsons” (prelim 3.7/9 in 18-49, 8.2 million).

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