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CBS' 'Madam Secretary' Opens to Fairly Good Ratings

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - The numbers are somewhat murky due to its late start in most of the country, but CBS' "Madam Secretary" -- the first of four dramas to bow on the network this fall -- looked solid enough in its premiere on Sunday night.

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - The numbers are somewhat murky due to its late start in most of the country, but CBS' "Madam Secretary" -- the first of four dramas to bow on the network this fall -- looked solid enough in its premiere on Sunday night.

CBS used a big NFL game as a lead-in to its Sunday lineup, but the Denver Broncos-Seattle Seahawks matchup didn't end until about 8 p.m. in the East, meaning that the Tea Leoni-fronted "Madam Secretary" didn't air until about 9.

According to affiliate-based Nielsen estimates for the 9 o'clock hour, which don't accurately reflect West Coast viewing (where it aired at 8), "Madam Secretary" averaged a 1.9 rating/5 share in adults 18-49 and 14.3 million viewers overall. These numbers are expected to be revised in the nationals, though it's unclear if it will be up or down.

While the preliminary young-adult demo rating isn't great -- it's a tick below where "The Amazing Race" started a year ago -- the show fared well in adults 25-54 (2.9/7) and, especially, women 25-54 (3.3/8). In a good sign, its women 25-54 rating held steady from its first to second half-hour.

In total viewers, the roughly 14.3 million figures to make "Madam" one of the top two or three most-watched new shows of the fall.

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CBS is hoping "Madam Secretary" can mesh well with "The Good Wife," which opened to roughly a 1.3/4 in 18-49 and 10 million viewers. Last year, airing at 9 p.m., "Good Wife" came in higher in 18-49 (1.5) but a bit lower in total viewers (9.15 million).

Without a late national NFL game next week, the CBS Sunday lineup will be able to start on time in most of the country. The net will be capping the night with veteran "CSI," which is moving over from Wednesdays.

Earlier on CBS, the Seahawks' 26-20 overtime victory over the Broncos in a rematch of the most recent Super Bowl, averaged a big 16.9 household rating and peaked with a 21.0 rating/36 share in its final half-hour (7:30-8 p.m. ET). This makes it the NFL season's No. 2 -rated game, behind only the Week 1 game on Fox between San Francisco and Dallas, which did a 17.4.

"60 Minutes" netted roughly a 3.6/10 in 18-49 and 18.2 million viewers overall (the net's 8 p.m. average for the night). If these numbers hold, it would be the show's most-watched season premiere since 1997.

NBC dominated the back half of primetime with "Sunday Night Football," which averaged a 7.2/20 in 18-49 and about 18 million viewers overall on the net's stations from 8:30 to 11 p.m., with these numbers expected to rise by at least 10% in the nationals. In the metered markets, the game did a 12.3 household rating.

Fox, which will launch most of its Sunday lineup next week, went with repeats of "Bob's Burgers" (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall), "The Simpsons" at both 7:30 (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall) and 8:30 (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall) and "Family Guy" at both 8:30 (1.3/4 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall) and 9 (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall). An original "American Dad," likely the final one to air on Fox as the show is moving to TBS, averaged a 1.4/4 in 18-49 and about 3 million viewers overall in the 9:30 p.m. half-hour.

ABC aired encores of "America's Funniest Home Videos" (0.8/3 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall), "Once Upon a Time" (0.6/2 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall), "Revenge" (0.5/1 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall) and "Revenge" (0.5/1 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall). The net's Sunday dramas return next week.

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By Rick Kissell, Variety.com

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