Live viewership of Seth MacFarlane’s Fox sci-fi dramedy “The Orville” fell sharply in its second season premiere on Sunday despite the lead-in boost provided from Fox’s NFL coverage earlier in the day.

But “Orville” still delivered a credible number and posted improvements on its first season averages. The show got a special post-football sendoff and will relocate this week to its regular Thursday 9 p.m. time slot.

“Orville” opened to a 1.5 rating/5 share in adults 18-49 and 5.6 million viewers in the Sunday 8 p.m. time slot, according to Nielsen’s live-same-day ratings. Those numbers will grow once delayed viewing is factored in. In September 2017 “Orville” also launched on a Sunday with a football lead-in to 8.6 million viewers and 2.8 rating in adults 18-49. 

On the plus side, “Orville’s” sophomore year start is up 67% in adults 18-49 from the show’s season one finale in December 2017. It’s also up 56% in total viewers over the finale.

“Orville” stars MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki as the leaders of a “Star Trek”-esque exploratory mission into outer space.

“Orville” was the only notable original entertainment program on a night otherwise stacked with reruns. NBC handily won the night thanks to “Sunday Night Football” coverage of the Colts-Titans game that secured a playoff berth for Indianapolis with its 33-17 victory.