An average of 2 million people watched the premiere of Lifetime’s new soap Devious Maids last night, with 826,000 in the 18-49 demo — 633,00 of them women. That was down from the network’s most recent scripted series debut, The Client List, which bowed in April 2012 with 2.8 million, matching the 2009 premiere of recently resurrected Drop Dead Diva, which also drew 2.8 million viewers.
Devious Maids premiered about 200,000 viewers ahead of Lifetime’s prior four-week average in the 10 PM hour Sunday. Its opening was only a smidge ahead of the 1.9 million and 1.8 million, respectively, who caught the premieres of the network’s 2011 scripted drama hopefuls, The Protector and Against The Wall — both of which were quickly cancelled. Devious Maids is a high-profile project for Lifetime and has enjoyed a boatload of free advance hype, owing to accusations it stereotyped Latinas. (One of the show’s exec producers, Eva Longoria, fanned the flames with a blog post in which she wrote “The only way to break a stereotype is to not ignore it”, and “this is a show that deconstructs the stereotype by showing us that maids are so much more.”) The Marc Cherry-created soap about five ambitious Latina maids working for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills was inspired by the telenovela Ellas Son La Alegria Del Hogar. It was originally developed for ABC during the 2011-12 season and moved to Lifetime after the broadcast network passed on the pilot.