Sunday ratings: NBC dominates, but cable’s presence is felt

The broadcast networks saw erosion from the previous week Sunday night as cable entries – notably the MLB playoffs on TBS and the premiere of Steel Magnolias on Lifetime – made an impact on the ratings. Meanwhile, Family Guy tied Once Upon A Time as the highest rated scripted show of the evening. Here’s a snapshot of the results (all numbers are adults 18-49, unless otherwise noted):

– NBC once again dominated with Sunday Night Football with a 7.2 rating/18 share and 18.3 million viewers. But the matchup between the San Diego Chargers and the New Orleans Saints (which featured the Saints’ Drew Brees breaking the record for TD passes in the most consecutive games) was down 20 percent from last week, as competition from the MLB playoffs siphoned viewers away: Game 1 of the ALDS between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles on TBS drew 3.9 million viewers and a 1.3 adults 18-49 rating.

– Helped by a football overrun, CBS was in the map with 60 Minutes, with a 3.6/9 and 16 million viewers. But from there, the night took a nosedive: Amazing Race followed with a 2.6/6; next was The Good Wife with a 1.7/4, and the fading Mentalist capped off the evening with a 1.6/4.

– ABC has a rather difficult evening: Once Upon A Time scored a 3.4/9, up from its Home Videos lead-in (1.5/4), but down 11 percent from last week. Revenge stumbled from there, with a 2.6/6. Finally, 666 Park Avenue closed out the evening with a 1.7/4, down 35 percent from its lead-in and down 22 percent from last week. I guess soap opera elements mixed in with sci-fi and an older cast do not work.

But the standout of the evening was Lifetime’s much-talked remake of the 1989 movie Steel Magnolias. Featuring an all African-American cast, the made-for-TV movie drew 6.5 million viewers and a 2.4 adult demo rating, beating Good Wife, Mentalist, and 666.

Despite a minimal amount of promotion, Fox’s Animation Domination block did reasonably well. The Cleveland Show’s season premiere earned a 2.2/6, ; The Simpsons‘ annual Treehouse Of Horror earned a 3.1 (however, this was down 19 percent from the season premiere last week); Bob’s Burgers drew a 2.3/6; Family Guy had a 3.4/8, was up 3 percent from last week; and American Dad capped the evening with a 2.6/6. Please note these demo numbers outperformed Fox’s Tuesday night lineup (with the exception of New Girl.) And Family Guy scored higher demo ratings than the entire Tuesday block and beat all sitcoms on the network, live-action or animated.

Had this been the overrated New Girl instead of Family Guy scoring a 3.4, TV critics and the press would have done cartwheels. Just like some of CBS’ shows, Fox’s Sunday comedies don’t get the credit they deserve when they do well.