Sluggish Sunday Starts 'Red Widow,' 'Apprentice'

CBS' 'Amazing Race' again bests ABC's 'Once Upon a Time'

It was mostly slow going for a pair of premiering programs on Sunday, with NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” down sharply in demos from last year but still besting ABC’s new drama “Red Widow.”  Cable was expected to steal the thunder, though, as “The Bible” opened well for History and AMC’s “The Walking Dead” should again emerge as No. 1 among all series in young adults.

Preliminary national demo and total-viewer estimates weren’t available for the first night of History’s miniseries “The Bible,” but it did a 6.7 household rating/10 share in Nielsen’s metered-market overnights — edging out CBS’ “The Good Wife” as tops on the night among scripted programs, and No. 2 overall behind “60 Minutes” on CBS.  “Walking Dead,” which draws a heavy concentration of younger viewers, did a 5.8/7 in the overnights. Following “The Bible,” the premiere of “The Vikings” at 10 p.m. did a 3.8/7

Vets “The Amazing Race” on CBS and “The Simpsons” on Fox were the night’s top two broadcasts in young adults, and these nets tied for the Sunday 18-49 lead among the broadcasters.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Celebrity Apprentice” averaged a 1.6/4 in adults 18-49 and 5.1 million viewers overall from 9 to 11 p.m., down more than 35% from last year’s opener. Still, it beat out in demos the premiere of ABC’s “Red Widow” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall), which also aired from 9 to 11 p.m. and beat the NBC reality show in total viewers. “Widow” ties with last month’s premiere of “Zero Hour” as the lowest-rated Alphabet series premiere on record among adults 18-49.

Best news for ABC was that “Red Widow” pretty much maintained its audience throughout. The series shifts to its regular 10 p.m. timeslot beginning next week, when it follows “Revenge.”

ABC has to be a bit concerned about “Once Upon a Time” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall) as it hit a low, down 13% from its most recent original of two weeks ago — and this is a week before the start of Daylight Savings Time, which tends to sap the ratings strength of all shows airing in the 8 o’clock hour. It was beaten for a second straight time by CBS’ “The Amazing Race” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall), which bounced back from its low score of last week opposite the Oscars on ABC.

Opening the night for ABC was “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall), which finished neck and neck among adults 18-49 with CBS’ “60 Minutes” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 11.9 million viewers overall), with the newsmag standing as the only broadcast series of the night to top 10 million total viewers. And from 9 to 11 p.m. on CBS, “The Good Wife” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 8.9 million viewers overall) was up vs. its most recent original, tying “Apprentice” for second among the Big Four in 18-49, and was followed by “The Mentalist” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall), which was down a bit.

Fox, which aired a repeat of “Family Guy” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall), was led by “The Simpsons” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall), which was Sunday’s No. 1 broadcast in adults 18-34 (2.5/8). Also for the net, it aired a special repeat “Simpsons” at 7 p.m. (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall), followed by “The Cleveland Show” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall). A second “Cleveland” at 8:30 p.m. moved up to a 1.9/5 in 18-49 and 3.8 million viewers overall, with the repeat “Family Guy” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall) and a special original of “Bob’s Burgers” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall) closing out the night for Fox.

NBC kicked off with repeats of “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall at 7 p.m. and 0.8/2 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall at 7:30 p.m.) followed by “Dateline” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS and Fox, 1.8/5; ABC, 1.6/4; NBC, 1.3/4; Univision, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 9.8 million; ABC, 6.9 million; NBC, 4.9 million; Fox, 3.8 million; Univision, 2.2 million.

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