TV Ratings: 'The Simpsons' Opens Higher, but There's a Catch

The Simpsons
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

The Simpsons began its 32nd season on Sunday with same-day ratings markedly higher than its premiere a year ago — but that doesn't tell the whole story.

The long-running series got a boost from Fox's late afternoon NFL game, which wasn't a factor last year. Compared to the show's first post-NFL episode of 2019, it was down some, as was the rest of Fox's animation lineup. NBC's Sunday Night Football also took a small hit.

The Simpsons opened its season with a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 4.44 million viewers. Last season, its first outing with an NFL lead-in came in at 2.1 in the key ad demographic and 5.63 million viewers. (The season 31 premiere last year, which didn't have a national NFL lead-in, drew a 0.9 and 2.33 million viewers.)

Bless the Harts drew a 0.8 in the demo and 2.05 million viewers (vs. 1.2 and 2.99 million for its initial post-NFL airing in 2019). Bob's Burgers (0.7, 1.77 million) and Family Guy (0.7, 1.86 million) were also down vs. the comparable week of 2019. (All four animated shows will grow their audiences substantially via digital platforms.)

Sunday Night Football was off slightly year to year: Its 17.8 million viewers easily dominated primetime but came down by about 4 percent vs. the same week in 2019 (18.59 million). CBS' 60 Minutes (7.56 million viewers, 0.7 in 18-49) took an expected tumble without an NFL lead-in, although Big Brother (4.15 million, 1.0) and Love Island (1.71 million, 0.4) were fairly steady.

The clinching game of the NBA's Eastern Conference finals topped Sunday's cable rankings with 3.45 million viewers and a 1.4 in adults 18-49. Saturday's close of the Western Conference finals fared better, leading all of primetime with 4.79 million viewers and a 1.85 in the demo.

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