ABC's Path to 9/11 got a lot of pre-broadcast buzz for its controversial treatment of the Clinton administration, but it managed only a third-place finish for the night.
In fact, the two controversial 911-related shows on Sunday night, ABC's drama and CBS' airing of documentary 9/11, were beaten by Fox's animated lineup of The Simpsons, Family Guy and American Dad.
Some CBS stations did not carry the show, citing its unedited profanities and the FCC's crackdown on language.
The ABC drama recorded a 3.5 rating/9 share in the Nielsen overnight ratings for the 18-49 demo, beaten by football on NBC (6.6/17 to win the night) and and partly by football on Fox (5.1/13 for second place). Fox got strong performances from its animated lineup, but it also got a big number from the overrun of its football game into prime time (7.8/23 at 7-7:30.
CBS managed a 2.9/7 on the night, getting little help from its sports overrun--a 2/6 for U.S. Open Tennis at 7:-7:30. It was fourth for the night in the demo with a 2.9/7 behind ABC.