Nielsen Media Research reports that the new series about a young U.S. Senator had a 3.6 rating, 11 share among adults aged 18-49; 12.3 million viewers watched the show's debut. "Sterling" also won the 8-9 PM hour, with more than two million viewers watching the drama than the second-place entry, "America's Funniest Home Videos," which grabbed only 10.3 million viewers.
The premiere episode of "Sterling" also marked a 24 percent jump in viewers for NBC for the Friday time slot the show now occupies.
The new political series from Emmy-winning writer/producer Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr. chronicles the struggles of young Senator William Sterling Jr. (Brolin), who is thrust into the position after the Senior Senator of California dies. McDonald portrays his chief of staff, Jackie Brock; others in the premiere episode included Bob Gunton, the state's current governor; William Russ as Tommy Doyle; David Noroña as the resident techno-wiz; and James Whitmore as the former California Governor, William Sterling, Sr.
A three-time Tony Award winner for her work in Master Class, Carousel and Ragtime, Audra McDonald was most recently on Broadway in the title role of Marie Christine. The singer-actress recently made her solo Carnegie Hall concert debut in an evening of songs scored for big bands, performing several tunes from her Nonesuch CD "Happy Songs." McDonald's other solo recordings, "Way Back to Paradise" and "How Glory Goes," are also on the Nonesuch label.
"Mister Sterling" airs 8-9 PM ET on NBC. Check local listings.