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Once Upon a Time Opens Big—Just Like Pan Am Did Once Upon a Time?

ONCE UPON A TIME, JAMIE DORNAN, LANA PARRILLA, GINNIFER GOODWIN, JOSH DALLAS, ROBERT CARLYLE, JARED GILMORE, JENNIFER MORRISON ABC/CRAIG SJODIN L

It was happy beginnings for Once Upon a Time.

The new look at old-school fairy-tale characters dominated as Sunday's No. 1 comedy or drama.

But almost as a reminder that beginnings don't necessarily foretell the future, another former big opener hit a new low in the TV ratings. 

VOTE NOW: Thumbs up—or downon Once Upon a Time?

Pan Am sank to 5.8 million viewers, per Nielsen estimates. It held even, which is to say it didn't improve, on its paltry 1.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic.

The poor performance stood out more than ever considering how strong ABC was elsewhere. 

At 8 p.m., Once Upon a Time averaged a night-best 12.8 million viewers (provided you don't count football and baseball), and scored a fantastic 3.9 demo rating, tops on the season, its network said, for a debuting drama series.

Once Upon a Time's big start boosted 9 p.m.'s Desperate Housewives (9.2 million viewers; 3.0 rating).

And then came Pan Am

The retro series, one of the fall's biggest bets, took off before 11.6 million viewers on Sept. 25—or, as Snow White herself might say, once upon a time.

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