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Returning Shows Take a Tumble On Busy Sunday Night

Premieres of ABC, CBS and Fox shows all down

On a Sunday night with options for just about every television viewer — from NBC’s dominant “Sunday Night Football” and the premiere of Fox’s animated comedies to the series finale of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” — the returning series on the broadcast networks were all low, and ABC’s new drama “Betrayal” had a modest opening.

Meanwhile, total-viewer estimates for cable shows will be available later Monday, but “Breaking Bad” did a 5.7 household rating/9 share in Nielsen’s metered-market overnight. By comparison, in the same 9 o’clock hour the season-premiere drama scores were: CBS’ “The Good Wife” (6.4/9), ABC’s “Revenge” (5.3/8) and Showtime’s “Homeland” (1.4/2).

According to affiliate-based preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” matchup between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons averaged a 6.7 rating/17 share in adults 18-49 and 18.5 million viewers overall on the net’s stations from 8:30 to 11 p.m., with these numbers expected to rise by at least 10% in the nationals.

In the metered markets, the Patriots’ 30-23 victory did a 13.6 household rating, including a 36.0 in Boston and a 27.2 in Atlanta.

At ABC, the special “Once Upon a Time: Journey to Neverland” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) was followed by the third-season premiere of “Once Upon a Time” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall), which came in down 33% from its year-ago opener but above all episodes from the second half of last season. Similarly, “Revenge” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall) dropped 25% but improved upon its second-half average of last season; it also held a better-than-usual 92% of its “Once” lead-in.

The 10 p.m. series premiere of “Betrayal” mustered a mere 1.5/4 in 18-49 and 5.3 million viewers overall), holding about 62% of its lead-in from “Revenge.” The network fared better last year with “666 Park Avenue” (2.1/5 in 18-49), which held 66% of its lead-in, but “Betrayal” is a slight improvement over the March premiere in the timeslot by “Red Widow.”

At CBS, “60 Minutes” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall) was followed by the season premieres of veterans “The Amazing Race” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 8.8 million viewers overall), “The Good Wife” (1.5/3 in 18-49, 8.9 million viewers overall) and “The Mentalist” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 9.7 million viewers overall). “Race” and “Mentalist” were off about 20% from last year’s openers, and “Good Wife” was off by about 15%.

The CBS numbers could be adjusted in the nationals due a roughly 15-minute overrun in some markets, including New York, Chicago and Houston.

Fox benefited from a football overrun and post-game coverage, leading into the season premieres of “The Simpsons” (2.8/8 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall), “Bob’s Burgers” (2.1/5 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall), “Family Guy” (2.6/6 in 18-49l, 5.2 million viewers overall) and “American Dad” (2.1/5 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall). Collectively, they were down about 20% from last year’s premieres.

Still, “Simpsons” was the No. 1 premiere on the night in 18-49, after finishing slightly behind “Once Upon a Time” a year ago.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 5.6/15; Fox, 3.3/9; ABC, 2.0/5; CBS, 1.6/4.

In total viewers: NBC, 15.3 million; CBS, 9.5 million; Fox, 8.1 million; ABC, 6.7 million.

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