Debuts: Sunday, Sept. 21, at 8:30 p.m. on CBS (special time; regularly scheduled at 8 p.m.) Stars: Téa Leoni, Tim Daly, Keith Carradine What it's…
Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/CBS

CBS’ new drama series Madam Secretary got off to a rather interesting start in the ratings Sunday night, while The Good Wife had its lowest-rated debut yet.

Secretary stars Tea Leoni as a Hillary Clinton-inspired Secretary of State dealing with D.C. politics and global challenges. The premiere at 9 p.m. Sunday night had a rather huge 14.3 million viewers, yet a merely fair 1.9 rating among adults 18-49. That’s about on par with The Amazing Race premiere last fall in the demo. But CBS says this is the most-watched fall drama premiere in three years among total viewers. An older-skewing audience was expected for the show — 81 percent of the Secretary audience is over 50 years old — especially given its big 60 Minutes lead-in (18.2 million, 3.6)—itself boosted by some NFL overrun. (In fact, the NFL overrun may have also inflated the Madam Secretary numbers).

At 10 p.m., the sixth season return of The Good Wife (10 million, 1.3) slumped 13 percent from last year’s already sluggish premiere. That downturn is in the demo, however. Once again, among total viewers Good Wife was actually up. The Good Wife is the rare example of a broadcast network show that survives thanks to critical prestige and awards more than numbers.