CBS suits are probably breaking out the bottles of ouzo – or Windex. Monday’s debut of ”My Big Fat Greek Life” behaved much like the movie that spawned it: middling reviews, but breakout audience response. The show drew 22.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen, beating Fox’s ”Joe Millionaire: The Aftermath” and even improving on the performance of its lead-in, CBS mainstay ”Everybody Loves Raymond” (22.2 million).
Those numbers are the best for any sitcom debut since NBC’s ”Jesse” in the fall of 1998. The numbers also increase the margin of CBS’ sweeps-month victory. (It probably helped that ”My Big Fat Greek Wedding” remains ubiquitous; it’s on video, it’s been in theaters for 11 months, and creator/star Nia Vardalos has been nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay.) However, the show will face its real test next week, when the show moves to Sundays at 8 p.m. EST, and the Portokalos family faces off against the Pryors (of NBC’s ”American Dreams”) and the Simpsons on Fox.