Family Guy made a strong case for its permanent return to the Fox lineup Sunday night.
The network has been heavily promoting the return of the animated comedy, hoping to build an animation destination with The Simpsons and King of the Hill.
Family Guy first aired on Fox in 1999, but was canceled after three seasons, only to become such a hit in DVD sales and in re-runs on Cartoon Network that Fox decided to bring it back.Family Guy did its part Sunday night, averaging an impressive 5.7 rating/13 share at 9 p.m., even more impressive given that it was up against ABC juggernaut Desperate Housewives (11.4/25).
Family Guy more than tripled the 1.7 rating Fox mustered with that half-hour's worth of the American Top 40 Awards last week, which host Ryan Seacrest could not save from the cellar, and more than double the rating for a Simpsons repeat two weeks before.
The Simpsons wasn't too shabby either, drawing a 5.6/14. Those shows helped Fox to a second-place finish behind ABC in the 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen overnight ratings.
ABC (7.4/19) has a virtual lock on the night thanks to Housewives and, now, Grey's Anatomy, which has risen steadily from a strong 7.7/19 four weeks ago to an 8.5/20 Sunday night, continuing to make ABC look smart for keeping it in the time slot during the May sweep and letting Boston Public cools its wingtips until next fall.
In third place was CBS, with a 3.0/8 for 60 Minutes,Cold Case and a Hallmark Hallof Fame movie.
NBC came in fourth with a 2.8/7. Its top show was a 3.9/9 for Crossing Jordan at 10 p.m.
The WB was fifth with a 1.2/3 for an old Charmed, a new Charmed and Steve Harvey's Big Time. UPN does not program Sunday nights.