Kaitlin Olson in ‘The Mick': Can Tonight’s Premiere Maintain Sunday’s Stellar Preview?

“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” star’s initial episode gets big boost from fierce football standoff

In case you haven’t watched one minute of Fox sports and entertainment programming since the summer, Kaitlin Olson is “The Mick.”

The star of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” has a new network sitcom and it didn’t exactly have a quiet preview premiere on Sunday. That’s because 1) Fox ran a commercial for it roughly once every seven seconds and 2) A whole lot of you actually watched the episode.

“The Mick” delivered a 2.8 rating in the key adults 18-49 demographic, actually matching NBC’s “This Is Us” premiere for highest-rated new series debut in Nielsen’s Live + 7 Day rating. The comedy, which centers on Olson’s Mickey Murphy — a hard-living woman who moves to raise her affluent sister’s kids — also hauled in 8.6 million in total viewers.

But how? Was it the non-stop marketing? Was it just quality yucks?

Well, the first surely drummed up awareness. That second depends on who you ask. While RottenTomatoes.com’s critical wrap-up currently has “The Mick” at just 50 percent freshness, 90 percent of the audience aggregated there dug it. Metacritic has the broadcast comedy one point lower per critics, but at just a 5.8 among a smaller sample size of viewers.

So what made the show such an initial hit? Let’s be real, folks — it was football! The New York Giants took on the Washington Redskins in Sunday’s “Game of the Week” on Fox, which kicks off around 4:30 p.m. ET. The nail-biter and divisional contest had playoff implications for the D.C.-area team, which kept fans in both major markets glued to their TV sets.

In other words, don’t expect “The Mick” to match those aforementioned numbers tonight, when Episode 102 premieres in the series’ actual time slot.

Olson will play the world’s worst nanny tonight beginning at 8:31 p.m., immediately following Fox’s “New Girl” return.

“Bones” closes the broadcaster’s two-hour primetime out starting at 9:01 p.m.