Fox’s ‘Mulaney’ Off to Weak Start Sunday; ‘Once’ Strong, ‘Madam Secretary’ Rises

Martin Short and John Mulaney in

Fox’s live-action comedy “Mulaney” opened Sunday to the weakest scores for any of the fall’s series premieres, holding just a little over half its “Family Guy” lead-in and placing fourth among the major networks in young adults. ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” cooled a bit from its hot start to the season but remained the night’s top entertainment series in demos, while CBS’ “Madam Secretary” had a good third week thanks in part to a stronger football-fueled lead-in, and was Sunday’s most-watched entertainment series overall.

NBC won Sunday with its Cincinnati-New England matchup on “Sunday Night Football,” which averaged a 12.8 overnight household rating/20 share in Nielsen’s metered markets despite its lopsided result (the Patriots won 43-17). On its stations from 8:30 to 11 p.m., NBC averaged a 6.9 rating/19 share in adults 18-49 and 18.1 million viewers overall, with the game’s overall averages expected to rise by more than 10% from these prelims.

Elsewhere, according to “live plus same-day” estimates from Nielsen, CBS ran second in demos thanks to an NFL overrun, which led into “60 Minutes” at 7:30 p.m. (2.5/8 in 18-49, 16.7 million viewers overall); the newsmag more than doubled its demo performance of last week (1.1) when it didn’t have football preceding it.

And that stronger “60 Minutes” number boosted the third-week performance of “Madam Secretary” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 14.3 million viewers overall), which was up 21% (0.3) from the previous week and was easily Sunday’s most-watched entertainment series overall. “The Good Wife,” starting at 9:30 p.m. in most of the country, was up a bit (1.4/4 in 18-49, 12.2 million viewers overall), and “CSI” was down a tick at 10:30 (1.2/4 in 18-49, 10.5 million viewers overall).

At Fox, an encore of “The Simpsons” (1.5/5 1in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall) led into the season premiere of “Bob’s Burgers” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall). As for the rest of the night, the net was unable to ride the momentum from its big premieres of last week, with “The Simpsons” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall) down sharply from its football-boosted season premiere of the previous week (3.9 in 18-49, 8.53 million viewers overall).

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” dropped off as well (1.6/4 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall) but was able to retain 80% of its lead-in. “Family Guy” had a surprisingly soft showing at 9 p.m. (1.9/5 in 18-49, 3.7 million viewers overall), tumbling more than 50% from its week-ago hourlong season premiere, which featured a crossover storyline with “The Simpsons.” And at 9:30 p.m., it was slow going for “Mulaney” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.3 million viewers overall), which delivered the lowest demo score for any of the fall’s premieres.

ABC had another Sunday of year-over-year improvement, thanks in large part to “Once Upon a Time” (3.1/9 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall), which was the night’s top entertainment series in 18-49 and 25-54 (3.3/8). It was down 9% from its week-ago prelim score in 18-49 (3.4), which shot up to a 3.7 in the nationals, but this is the show’s second best rating since January 2013.

While “Once” was up 19% from its same night a year ago, 9 p.m. drama “Resurrection” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall) was down a tick from last year’s “Revenge.” “Resurrection” also saw an abnormally large 0.3 bump in the nationals last week, and its prelim score is down 18% from last week’s (2.2) for the show’s lowest to date.

Closing out the night, “Revenge” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall) was down two tenths from its week-ago national score (1.5) but up two tenths from last year’s “Betrayal” (1.1).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 5.5/16; CBS, 2.2/6; ABC, 1.7/5; Fox, 1.6/5; Univision, 0.9/3; Telemundo, 0.3/1.

In total viewers: NBC, 15.0 million; CBS, 12.3 million; ABC, 5.7 million; Fox, 3.5 million; Univision, 2.3 million; Telemundo, 0.6 million.

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