NBC’s New Sunday Solid, but Fox’s ‘Sons’? Not So Much

Meanwhile, CBS’s “Undercover Boss” takes a 25 percent hit — but still wins the 9 p.m. timeslot

Last Updated: March 15, 2010 @ 10:17 AM

A pair of unscripted series helped NBC get back in the ratings game Sunday, while Fox’s "Sons of Tucson" showed no sign of breaking the network’s live-action losing streak when it comes to comedies

Overall, CBS took control of Sunday in adults 18-49, with newcomer "Undercover Boss" — while down sharply from its last original — helping the Eye put another night in its win column.

Let’s play Chatroulette, but with Nielsen numbers:

–New NBC gameshow "Minute to Win It" aired back to back episodes: A 7 p.m. edition averaged a 1.5/5 in the demo (third place behind "60 Minutes" (1.8/6) and "America’s Funniest Home Videos Not on You Tube (1.9/6), but helped boost the 8 p.m. edition to a 2.4/7.

This two-hour block was all about time period upgrade for NBC: "Minute" was up like 75 percent from the 7 p.m. edition of "Dateline" (0.9/2), and substantially higher than the program which aired at 8 p.m. last spring, "Kings" (1.6/4).

Moreover, the 8 p.m. "Minute" actually beat ABC’s fading "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (2.3/6) and finished within a few deep breaths of Fox’s "The Simpsons" original (2.6/8).

CBS controlled the 8 p.m. hour with "The Amazing Race" (3.0/8).

–From 9-11 p.m., "The Celebrity Apprentice" (3.2/8) dropped a notable 18 percent from last spring’s bow — despite mega-promotion from the networks of NBC Universal, hope of the 2010 Olympics. And yet: The Donald dominated the 10 p.m. hour, rising to 3.6 rating and beating ABC’s not-hot "Brothers and Sisters" (2.5/7) and CBS’s not-hot-but-up "Cold Case" (2.5/7).

–In the 9 p.m. hour, "Undercover Boss" (3.8/10) kept up its winning streak — but a not-cool 25 percent decline from its last original two weeks ago indicates NBC’s "Apprentice" took a chunk of its reality audience. ABC’s "Desperate Housewives" (3.6/9) was on par with recent performances.

UPDATE 10:10 AM — We should’ve mentioned that HBO’s megabudget "The Pacific" premiered in this timeslot Sunday and no doubt had some impact on the ratings.

–Fox’s "Family Guy" (3.5/9) was solid at 9 p.m, up 6 percent from its last mid-February original. But it wasn’t solid enough to get viewers to sample "Sons of Tucson" (2.1/5), which was down about 20 percent from usual timeslot occupant "American Dad." So as to not annoy affiliates, "Tucson" will likely be shifted to the 7-8 p.m. hour by May, barring a last-minute uptick.

So what have we learned from Sunday’s numbers?

Sunday night is still ripe for big changes next fall, with ABC most in need of some new blood on the night and CBS still likely to make a change at 10 p.m. to take advantage of the cooling-but-still-hot "Undercover Boss." NBC, meanwhile, has built a nice little Sunday night for spring.