By Lynette Rice
Updated September 26, 2011 at 03:57 PM EDT

Even without Peyton Manning, the Colts game was a huge draw for NBC, which took the first Sunday of the 2011-12 TV season in adults 18-49 (5.9 rating/15 share) and viewers (14.8 million), according to preliminary results. The game itself (7.2/17) was still down 22% in the demo versus the last one on Sept. 18 — but this time, it had to face originals on the other networks.

But clearly, folks weren’t too interested in the return of Desperate Housewives: The beginning of the end for the ABC drama only posted a 3.1/7 and 9.7 million viewers — its lowest premiere ever. Oops! At least folks didn’t go away for the start of Pan Am, which beat the premiere of CSI: Miami (2.2/5, 9. 9 million) by earning a 3.1/8 and 10.8 million. (Each 18-49 ratings point equals 1.3 million viewers).

Hey, it could have been worse for the fly girls; ABC says it was the first program to build on its Housewives premiere in viewers since Grey’s Anatomy in 2006. Not bad at all.

Tough go for CBS’ The Good Wife, which was down 12% from its Tuesday premiere last season (2.2/5, 10.4 million). It’s no surprise that it, too, suffered its lowest premiere ever. The Amazing Race also posted its lowest-rated fall premiere with a 3.0/7 and 10.5 million viewers.

Animation Domination on Fox was the ultimate destination for the night: In fact, Family Guy (4.1/9, 7.6 million) and American Dad (3.0/7, 5.7 million) beat Housewives by 13% in 18-49.

Overall, Fox was second for the night in 18-49 (4.4/11), followed closely by CBS (2.5/6) and ABC (2.4/6). In viewers, CBS was second for the night with 10.8 million, followed by Fox (9.5 million), and ABC (8.7 million).


MONDAY: Two and a Half Men ratings huge! Ashton Kutcher debut delivers series high

TUESDAY: Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl opens big; Glee dips

WEDNESDAY: X Factor opens solid, but Modern Family steals the show

THURSDAY: Charlie’s Angels modest, X Factor steady

FRIDAY: Fringe returns lower; Gifted Man modest in ratings