8:48am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'Utopia' Off to OK Start Against 'Sunday Night Football' Return
Sunday shed its sleepy summer lineup last night, with the return of NBC's Sunday Night Football and the launch of the first new series of the fall: Fox's Utopia.
The latter, which will air twice more this week in its regular Tuesday and Friday time slots, had a hefty lead-in from the network's own NFL coverage but likely lost more than a few potential viewers against big competition from the primetime showdown between the Colts and the Broncos. For its first two-hours, it averaged a fair 1.9 rating among adults 18-49 and 4.6 million viewers.
Those numbers are subject to change when adjustments come in. And though there is also potential for a DVR boost, reality doesn't traditionally see nearly as much of a time-shifting lift as scripted programming.
As for Sunday Night Football, it obviously steamrolled everything in its path. Overnight ratings have the game down nearly 10 percent from the comparable debut last year, with an average 15.1 rating in metered market households. As for adults 18-49, the Fast National 8.0 rating marked a 12 percent drop from last year's preliminary 9.1 rating. (That rose to a 10.0 in finals.)
Big Brother might provide a more interesting barometer for Utopia's inaugural performance. In the hour where the two programs went head-to-head, Big Brother edged past it in the demo with a 2.3 rating in the key demo. (Utopia's first hour pulled a 2.2 rating.) Compared to last Sunday, the CBS show was also up three-tenths of a point. It was not the network's only original outing for the night. Unforgettable (1.1 adults) and Reckless (0.7 adults) also were new.
Over on ABC, a two-hour Wipeout took a 0.8 rating with adults under 50. That marked a two-tenths improvement from last Sunday's showing over the holiday weekend.