Fans of "Moonlight" hunk Alex O’Loughlin better start the save our show campaign now: His new CBS drama series "Three Rivers" struck out in its debut Sunday.
Meanwhile, Fox’s "Cleveland" show held up respectably in its second week, while ABC’s sudsy Sunday serials showed week-to-week growth.
A first look at the numbers, courtesy of fast national Nielsen data:
–Into every network’s season a little rain must fall. And for CBS, it would be "Three Rivers" (2.0/5, 9.17 million viewers). It lost about 25 percent of its "Amazing Race" (2.8/7, 9.95 million) demo lead-in and ranked third in its 9 p.m. timeslot.
What seems likely to doom "Rivers," however, is the fact that the show was down sharply from the season premiere of "Cold Case" in the same slot a year ago. And "Cold Case" barely made it back for another season this year. (Speaking of which, "CC" notched a 2.2/6 and 9.69 million viewers at 10 p.m.).
On the plus side, "Rivers" did go up just a tad at the half-hour in both viewers and demos. So while most viewers had no interest in even checking the show out, those who did at least didn’t bail.
Let’s hope the "Moonlight" die-hards don’t decide to start sending CBS Entertainment chief Nina Tassler animal organs as a means of protest.
–ABC is holding up nicely on Sunday, with its two anchor dramas, "Desperate Housewives" (4.9/11, 14.27 million) and "Brothers & Sisters" (3.2/8, 9.6 million) showing week-to-week gains. Also up: "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (3.4/8, 11.7 million).
The big drop-off for "B&S," however, does raise the possibility that ABC programmers might be tempted to see how another show ("Eastwick?") does in the post-"DH" timeslot during a "B&S" hiatus.
–Fox should be happy with its Animation Domination Sunday night performance. Newcomer "The Cleveland Show" (4.2/10) dropped 14 percent from its big premiere last week– an average falloff for a newcomer, especially one that was a promotional priority for its network and got tons of pre-season marketing.
"Cleveland" dipped just below the ratings for its lead-in, "The Simpsons" (4/3/11), which held steady week-to-week. "Family Guy" (4.9/11) was down about 6 percent, while "American Dad" (3.5/8) was off 3 percent. Latter two shows were up or flat vs. time period averages last year, helping Fox’s toon block improve 14 percent vs. 2008.
–NBC’s Sunday football won the night. Accurate ratings available tomorrow.