'Desperate Housewives' way down; 'Pam Am' still manages to take flight


Image Credit: Matthew Rolston/ABC

Even without Peyton Manning, the Colts game was a huge draw for NBC, which took the first Sunday of the 2011-12 TV season in adults 18-49 (5.9 rating/15 share) and viewers (14.8 million), according to preliminary results. The game itself (7.2/17) was still down 22% in the demo versus the last one on Sept. 18 — but this time, it had to face originals on the other networks.

But clearly, folks weren’t too interested in the return of Desperate Housewives: The beginning of the end for the ABC drama only posted a 3.1/7 and 9.7 million viewers — its lowest premiere ever. Oops! At least folks didn’t go away for the start of Pan Am, which beat the premiere of CSI: Miami (2.2/5, 9. 9 million) by earning a 3.1/8 and 10.8 million. (Each 18-49 ratings point equals 1.3 million viewers).

Hey, it could have been worse for the fly girls; ABC says it was the first program to build on its Housewives premiere in viewers since Grey’s Anatomy in 2006. Not bad at all.

Tough go for CBS’ The Good Wife, which was down 12% from its Tuesday premiere last season (2.2/5, 10.4 million). It’s no surprise that it, too, suffered its lowest premiere ever. The Amazing Race also posted its lowest-rated fall premiere with a 3.0/7 and 10.5 million viewers.

Animation Domination on Fox was the ultimate destination for the night: In fact, Family Guy (4.1/9, 7.6 million) and American Dad (3.0/7, 5.7 million) beat Housewives by 13% in 18-49.

Overall, Fox was second for the night in 18-49 (4.4/11), followed closely by CBS (2.5/6) and ABC (2.4/6). In viewers, CBS was second for the night with 10.8 million, followed by Fox (9.5 million), and ABC (8.7 million).

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MONDAY: Two and a Half Men ratings huge! Ashton Kutcher debut delivers series high
TUESDAY: Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl opens big; Glee dips
WEDNESDAY: X Factor opens solid, but Modern Family steals the show
THURSDAY: Charlie’s Angels modest, X Factor steady
FRIDAY: Fringe returns lower; Gifted Man modest in ratings

Comments (105 total) Add your comment
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  • Joe

    Pan Am was a very good period drama for network tv and here’s why. It was inspiring. Period pieces can resonate with a network tv audience if they have a fun positive energy to them. That’s what Pan Am has in common with American Dreams and The 60s. All 3 of these shows take the 1960s and show them being fun and inspiring. An inspiring show does not make it bad. There was something wholesome and inspiring about this pilot because at least the stewardesses get to see the world. The Playboy Club is a tougher sell because the show didn’t do a good job of selling the concept as inspiring to women. Also, the writing and acting were junk. At least Pan Am feels like it’s about something interesting. Pan Am needs to figure out a balance between stories on the plane and the trips these stewardesses will take.

    • Eric P

      The playboy club wasn’t bad IMO. I think maybe there was the perception of sleaziness that pushed viewers away but i enjoyed both shows.

      • kissyou

        My best friend has just announced her wedding with a great man who is a celebrity!
        They met via { himillionaires*c’o’m}
        It is nice club for rich men or pretty girls mate.
        You do not need to be wealthy or famous, but you can meet your true love, it’s worthy a try.

    • lisa g.

      Omg I laughed so hard while watching desperate housewives last nite. Only watching bc It’s the last season n nothing else is on at 9! I was very pleasantly surprised. Didn’t try pan am….that’s too long to sit in front of the tv!

      • LiLa

        I’m with Lisa. DH was hilarious last night! And also touching (Gabby’s “you saved a life” scene).

      • ty

        Good to hear I haven’t watched it yet but plan to now…I was watching boardwalk empire

      • sara

        Maybe you should try reading a book. Your writing skills might improve a bit.

      • davey

        “Didn’t try pan am….that’s too long to sit in front of the tv!”…..ummmm, what?

      • Trisha

        Oh yeah, DH was surprisingly funny last night. “Ever since they shot bin laden, you can just stroll up to the airport whenever you want”- that line just killed me. And then Bree being so happy when that car got robbed. Oh, Pan Am was awesome too! Love Christina Ricci.

      • lisa g.

        Sorry my writing skills aren’t pleasing to u! I’m happy to get a sentence out after switching from a blackberry to a touch screen phone that changes words on my behalf! Some if u kill me! Also I didn’t watch pan am bc i don’t like watching hour long shows back to back! Understand?

      • lisa g.

        @trisha…..the car being stolen scene was the best!,

    • kate middleton

      Loved Pan Am! So glad it did well in the ratings.
      I stopped watching Desperate Housewives years ago.

      • lisa g.

        Hi Kate…I stopped watching a few seasons back but it was surprisingly good!,

    • Caren

      Pan Am is interesting and unique, I liked it. I liked the four female characters, the clothes and the hair.

    • Ben

      When you say the 1960s, you have to mean the early part 1960-65 because clearly that is where most of the shows visiting that decade fall into. They haven’t/won’t go into Vietnam, the hippie era and the crazy colors associated with the end of that decade. It was that JFK era that people seem so nostalgic for, in spite of the uncertainty of those times and the real looming threat of nuclear war. I watched the opening episode and found it entertaining enough, but I didn’t find much there to grip me to come back and watch it regularly. I don’t feel as nostalgic for the early 60s as some people obviously do.

      • Sabrina

        I’m not sure it’s nostalgia per se but perhaps curiosity. So much has been written about the late 60s to where that other era is overshadowed or disappears into the 50s. It’s time that aspect was shown because there was a place where women were at besides either in the home as docile homemakers or hippies out protesting and smoking weed.

    • Sabrina

      Agree! I also find the show attractive because it presents a side to the 1960s that is all too often overlooked or dismissed. I’m tired of people constantly portraying the 60s as though it were only the hippies, the protesters etc. There was much more to the 60s than that. MOST of the people in the sixties were not out there taking to the streets. They were busy raising families and making a living. At least I know my mother was and she was doing it in those awesome “Mod” outfits she wore :)

  • Bruce Summersteen

    Pan Am’s Kelli Garner is voluptuous, gorgeous, sexy and beautiful. I love her. She’s amazing. That woman is incredible. She’s a very talented actress. It’s an exquisite performance by her, just wonderful.

    • pie thrower

      That’s funny Bruce Wintersteen said the same thing about Katharine Heigl. Thanks for the input Bruce.

  • schmidty

    It’s Peyton Manning! This is why women shouldn’t talk about football!

    • guest

      And yet you over-use exclamation marks like a girl……

      • schmidty

        Are you implying girls don’t know how to punctuate correctly?

  • Steelers Fan

    And it was the Colts-STEELERS game, not just the colts…. seing that it was the Steelers who did win….

  • val

    Pan Am is an amateurish production. If they got any ratings at all it was out of curiousity which is why I watched it. I won’t waste my time again.

  • claudenorth

    Why do people act surprised when ratings go down? Network ratings have been on a steady decline for years.

    • sorella

      I agree and why do they act surprised when series that have been on FOREVER like DHousewives ratings going down???!! So many shows overstay their welcome and go on and on when the should have called it a day (they obviously all like and need the steady paycheque..it’s not like Eva L. or Teri Hatcher are going to get offered major parts anywhere else).

  • nitemar

    I still can’t believe The Good Wife move to Sundays. I watched it last night and was a great episode, steamy to the max. Julianna way to go girl!, sort of speak. :)

  • Frenchie

    DH has been losing viewers faster than JLo has been losing relevance. The show should have ended a couple years ago. It is stale and has gone beyond any sense of belief even for a soap opera. Put the show and its overpaid actresses out to pasture.

    • ced

      u a hater..jlo is doin big things..her clothing line n film career is in top form

      • really?

        umm no. the kardashians are selling a lot more with their clothing line, and her film career died in 2002. Her last film was in 2010 and it was a major flop.

  • walter

    I’d be interested to see how much ABC spent advertising Pan Am. In the week leading up to the premiere, it seemed that every single website I went to had an ad for the show.

  • Tansy

    So DH and Pan Am did almost equally well, yet Pan Am is considered the success and DH is the failure? Most new series drop from their debuts, so Pan Am will probably not hold those numbers. DH has been a very successful show for years. I think it came off way better than Pan Am last night, all things considered.

    • Kat

      The older a show gets, the more expensive it becomes so yes, it needs to do better in the ratings than a cheaper newbie.

      • Tansy

        I KNOW that. What I’m saying is that Pan Am’s numbers are not that great for a new show and are nothing to really brag about if it just barely does better than an old show that is near the end of its run. Also, most shows drop with their second episode so Pan Am will probably be getting a modest 2.5 or so next week. DH definitely outshone Pan Am this week.

      • matthew

        Tansy, I’d say Pan Am’s ratings are pretty great, considering it was on at 10 PM on a Sunday, when a lot of people are probably going to sleep early. Relax.

    • langon4

      I believe that too!!! Sorry I love dh!!! Most people dont like them because they feel as if a middle aged women are supposed to look overweight and ten years older as they do….not in shape and lively!!!!!

  • PN

    I was surprised that Pan Am got over 1 million more viewers than Desperate Housewives. But Housewives is 7 years old, starting its 8th season, and those aging shows lose audiences as each year goes on. And I’m surprised that the NFL game didn’t pull in as many viewers this week because of Peyton Manning not playing in the game. Peyton is a huge draw because of his playing and his TV ads. They didn’t air any ads with Peyton during the game.

    • Karen

      Also, ABC didn’t really advertise Desperate Housewives. I didn;t even know it was the premiere last night, and I was just lucky I already had it on ABC.

  • Steele Burgess

    Author can’t even spell correctly. Give me a break Lynette.

  • gg

    I find it funny that networks “win” based on 18 to 49 results only. In case you were born in a cave, that group doesn’t run out and buy crap because of a commercial..most don’t have disposable income, many are unemployed, have drug issues, and would rather steal the crap. Why do sites likne this buy into bs created by neilsen and these so called ad agencys that are simply full of it? Total audience is more important…and trust me 50 + has a hell of a lot more money to spend…get a clue morons

    • gato

      You are right! But, ad executives are CONVINCED that the younger demos dont have as much brand loyalty. Which I think is so so dumb, dont most people buy what is cheapest???

      • Fishpaw

        Now a days they almost have to buy what is either on sale or less expensive.

      • walt kovacs

        the 18-49 demo is a dinosaur

        im still waiting for advertisers to buck the system

    • SP

      Yeah, 100 million people out there all do drugs and steal crap. Get a clue you old duffer.

    • Kat

      It’s not “buying into this crap”, it’s simply facing reality. It’s a fact that advertisers don’t really care about you if you’re 50 or over. It may be stupid but that’s the way it is and I’d rather entertainment sites be honest about the real situation instead of trying to conceal it as they’ve done for many years.

      • Kat

        And why do you think Nielsen came up with this system? Isn’t it obvious it’s the advertisers who are responsible? They’re the ones who aren’t willing to pay for older viewers.

    • Sabrina

      I’d say ABC and others are finally getting a clue and putting on shows that appeal to adults!

  • Doug

    It’s the last season for the gals on Wisteria, who cares about ratings. Let ‘er rip ladies! Go out with a bang.

    • Brenda

      DH was very funny last night, I laughed so hard at Eva & Marsha in that car with the cop that I had tears. I am sorry the show is ending. But not being in the 18-49 age range, my opinion does not count. sad.

      • Frenchie

        What was so funny about that scene? Gaby eating tobacco? It was lame

  • tim

    DH is tense! Its great to see the women go through something so huge together. I love this show and will be sad to see it end.

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