Ratings: Once Returns Steady in Demo, But With Smallest Audience Ever

ABC’s already renewed Once Upon a Time returned from its three-month hiatus and entered the Underworld on Sunday night with 4 million total viewers and a 1.3 rating, steady in the demo versus its fall finale (which marked a series low) but slipping 13 percent to its smallest audience ever.

That said, Once was Sunday’s top-rated broadcast drama. TVLine readers gave the winter premiere an average grade of “B+.”

Continuing ABC’s night, The Family made its regular time slot premiere — opposite both The Walking Dead and Downton Abbey‘s series finale — with 3.1 million viewers and a 0.8 rating, down sharply from its Thursday sneak peek while matching Blood & Oil’s season/series finale. Quanticos winter premiere (3.7 mil/1.1) ticked down to series lows on both counts.

Elsewhere in the ratings….

CBS | Madam Secretary (10.1 mil/1.2) was steady, The Good Wife (7.2 mil/0.9) dipped 9 percent and a tenth to hit and match series lows and CSI: Cyber (5.7 mil/0.8) slipped 13 percent and a tenth.

FOX | In its new leadoff slot, Bordertown (5.7 mil/1.5) got a boffo bump from NASCAR overrun. In other prelim numbers, Bob’s Burgers (2.6 mil/1.1), Cooper Barrett (1.9 mil/0.8) and Family Guy (2.7 mil/1.3) were steady, while The Simpsons (3.2 mil/1.3) and Last Man on Earth (2.7 mil/1.1) ticked down.

Want scoop on any of the above shows? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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  1. Joe says:

    With Once and Quantico Low ratings is because the long breaks don’t work ( I forgot they were on for one thing )

  2. Patty Stamps says:

    Once is just not the same. Next season should be their last.

    • PriceIsRightCancelled says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Are the execs at ABC lost their minds already?

    • Patty says:

      It should have ended after s3. Season 4 and 5 are disaster. Next season should be definitely last and shorter.

    • Poppy says:

      I couldn’t agree more! I struggled with last season and the first half of this season. During this long break, I haven’t even missed the show. The first 2 seasons were the best.

    • tvjunkie says:

      As long as it’s not too expensive and winning the demo I don’t see it getting cancelled. The TV business is about making money 1st with quality a distant 2nd. You need look no further than cheap to make reality shows for proof of that.

      • Hellotohangup says:

        But that’s just it, this is not a cheap show to produce, so to stay afloat it needs super good ratings.

  3. Rob says:

    Gave up on Once last year. I like The Family a lot. People just don’t want to invest in this kind of show. Plot not wrapped up every week, like most of CBS junk. What happened to Secrets and Lies. Shows on break from Dec. to Feb or Mar. is just tooo long.

  4. PriceIsRightCancelled says:

    With Quantico already renewed for a second season, ABC should move the series to Sundays @ 9 or maybe move to a new night.

  5. bigdede says:

    Not surprised about Quantico. It has nothing to do with the long break. That winter break episode pissed a lot of people off. The promos promised some answers instead we just got more questions. Then the Ryan/Alex love story is a hot mess. They’re trying to pattern it after Meredith/Derek but it’s not working. For the winter break, Alex had NO reason to run off with Liam. She just found out from Ryan’s ex wife that Ryan loved her and talks about her constantly. Yet Alex took that to mean she should hump Liam? That makes no sense. Then the show comes back and we have more NATs!? We barely know the lead ones now! Then we have more questions. Did Caleb survive? Is he in a coma? What’s going on!?!?

  6. bigdede says:

    Oh but I love The Family. I’m sick of all the flashbacks on these ABC shows but I’m loving the show. When that daughter threaten the daddy, I was hooked.

  7. Emma says:

    I’m actually not surprised, all the Regina scenes we got.. Hopefully next week the ratings will go up

    • Patty says:

      I don’t agree. Regina-centric episodes are always the best ones.but Once became just nonsense crap after s3. I stopped watching after 5A. It’s just too much.

  8. kmw says:

    Bad night for ABC. Given The Family was going up against Walking Dead and Downton Abbey, its really no surprise they fell so far( and probably would have fallen regardless) FOX did what I thought they would do. Madam Secretary may not have demo numbers but their HH numbers are decent. Hope The Good Wife can go up before their finale

  9. CW says:

    I understand ratings are important to advertisers but, honestly, does anyone really believe these numbers accurately reflect the number of households and/or individuals who actually watch these TV shows? Even when DVR numbers are factored in they seem relatively small when compared to the overall population, and the amount of buzz theses shows (and so many others) generate in the press and on social media. It just seems like the ratings process is becoming more and more outdated.

  10. Jasie says:

    Really really really enjoying THE FAMILY. Always a bummer when a great new show starts off weak. I have always questioned the success of launching a preview ep and then moving the rest to a different day. Seems to be more of a confusion then is needed.

    Also, really hoping Last Man On Earth gers a 3rd season. Funniest show on TV.

  11. D. says:

    They need to stop with these big pauses. I forgot most of plots and lost most of the interest.

  12. Tracy says:

    The struggle is real at ABC.

  13. DarkDefender says:

    Aside from showing that network TV has a lot of great competition from cable and pay channel providers, it also proves that super long “winter breaks” do not help the network shows.
    ABC needs to rethink there design.. to keep with the times. Maybe Ms. Dungey will turn it around?

  14. Amanda says:

    I don’t understand why some think these are bad ratings for “OUAT” when they are still the top rated broadcast drama. Times have changed and live ratings don’t mean that much at all once DVR, mobile, and online are added in. The fandom is huge and the early renewal is a good sign how the show is really doing.

  15. Sarah says:

    This doesn’t surprise me, honestly. After watching 5A I was left done with the show. There was nothing about Emma going to the underworld to save someone that quite frankly didn’t deserve to be saved that appealed to me. Looks like I was not alone.

    • Marcus says:

      Hook was under the control of a darkness Emma forced into him against his will (He begged her not to and to just let him die!), but still overcame it and saved everyone. I think that deserves saving, just like they saved Regina after she repented and tried to sacrifice herself. That’s not the problem for most viewers, the problem is just the total grim, dark tone the show has developed. It’s just depressing.

  16. AM says:

    I totally forgot OUAT was returning, guess that shows how much I missed it. The show just isn’t the same anymore, especially after they spectacularly botched up that Dark Swan storyline.

  17. OUAT is the ONLY show I will pull up “on demand” & watch if I miss. It is also the ONLY show I pull up to watch when I DONT miss it.

  18. Bree says:

    I loved the spring premier and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. Best show on t.v!

  19. OUAT Fan says:

    OUAT is the only show I watch on Sunday. The hiatus lasts too long. They could have done a better job with the Dark Swan storyline. I did love the spring premiere.