Nellie Andreeva

Reality series Secret Millionaire started its second incarnation on American television strong, pulling a 3.3/9 in 18-49 and 12.6 million viewers in its debut on ABC last night. That was ABC’s best performance in the 8 PM hour with regular programming since March 2008 (in viewers) and November 2009 (18-49). Secret Millionaire, which once aired on Fox, was up 32% in the demo from the season premiere of veteran Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in the same slot and drew the largest audience for any program on Sunday. The Zodiak USA-produced Secret Millionaire buoyed the entire ABC lineup, lifting Desperate Housewives (3.4/8, 11.3 million) to an eight-week high in the 18-49 demo. Brothers & Sisters (2.2/6, 7.5 million) was up 16%. ABC (2.7/7, 9.8 million) won the night in 18-49 and finished second in total viewers to CBS (2.4/6, 10.9 million) with its most watched Sunday since May.

Secret Millionaire outperformed CBS’ similarly themed unscripted series Undercover Boss (2.7/7, 10.9 million) at 9 PM, which was up 4% from its last original Feb. 20. The rest of CBS’ Sunday entertainment lineup rebounded after taking a big hit against the Oscars last week. Despite facing Secret Millionaire, The Amazing Race (2.7/7, 9.8 million) was up 29% from last week and CSI: Miami (2.4/7, 10.7 million) was up 20%.

NBC’s new unscripted Sunday lineup was off to a slow start. The premiere of America’s Next Great Restaurant (1.6/4) was down 33% from the series premiere of Minute To Win It in the same 8 PM slot last March. At 9 PM, the season premiere of Celebrity Apprentice (2.7/7) was down 16% from the debut of the last celebrity edition of the reality franchise for its lowest-rated spring premiere ever.

Fox’s animated comedies delivered a seesaw ratings performance, with The Simpsons (2.8/8) and Bob’s Burgers (2.3/6) up, 4% and 5%, respectively, from their last originals on Feb. 20, and Family Guy (3.1/8) and The Cleveland Show (2.3/6) down, 6% and 12%, respectively.

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