Credit: ABC

Can Once Upon a Time give ABC’s fall a happy ending? The fantasy adventure got off to a strong start in the ratings Sunday night, opening better than expected at 8 p.m.

Once delivered 12.8 million viewers and a 3.9 adults 18-49 rating, improving a whopping 86 percent on the usual time period average of Extreme Makeover in the slot. That makes Once Upon a Time the highest-rated new drama series premiere of the season — bigger than ABC’s Revenge, CBS’ Person of Interest or Fox’s Terra Nova.

The rest of ABC’s lineup wasn’t quite as enchanted, however. The strong Once lead-in improved Desperate Housewives (9.2 million, 3.0) by 11 percent at 9 p.m., but the magic had worn off by the time Pan Am (5.8 million, 1.8) took flight at 10 p.m.

On the sports front, there was more ratings wizardry at play since baseball may have edged out football among total viewers (though not among adults 18-49). In the early Nielsen ratings, Game 4 of the World Series on Fox delivered a 10.1 household rating while NBC’s Sunday Night Football had an 8.2 rating. It only took a championship baseball game facing the most lopsided victory in the six-year history of SNF for this to happen (the Saints defeated the winless Colts, 62-7).

On CBS, the numbers are all messy due to football overrun in some markets. The Good Wife appears to be roughly steady with last week.

Anyway, Once Upon a Time — that’s the story this morning. What did you think?