“Seorita Lopez” is the biggest series opener in NBC’s 22-year history

George Lopez returns, once-estranged daughter in tow, with a textbook family sitcom.

“Señorita Lopez,” an ensemble drama about a single, working-class Latina trying to raise a son from his early years to adulthood, premiered late Monday on NBC. This season’s show was delayed for more than five months, but its season premiere was set to come within two weeks of the end of this season. A season-high 14.9 million viewers tuned in, according to Nielsen’s preliminary estimates, making it the biggest series opener in the 22-year history of NBC’s struggling Sunday night lineup.

As a result, the network scored a boost in the time-slot from Tuesday’s premiere of ABC’s “Ugly Betty.”

Despite the show’s lack of traditional drama elements, critics hailed the series’ ensemble of seven character actors, all of whom are Mexican-American women. The show was created by Jennie Snyder Urman and produced by Jennifer Lopez, and writer, Urman and Lopez will produce the film that the series will star in.

At the center of it all is Marisa Esquivel (who’s played the series’ lead since it began in October 2010), a single mother who is trying to raise a son from an early age. In Esquivel’s case, that son ends up being her father (played by Lopez).

The series will mark Lopez’s first appearance in an ensemble. Her return to the small screen was announced last March, and while the series didn’t officially bow that same month, production was officially underway on New York City’s Warner Bros. TV lot.

“Señorita Lopez” will mark Lopez’s return to the small screen after her stint on an ABC sitcom from 1997 until its cancellation in 2000 and her starring roles in “Desperado” (1999) and another ABC sitcom, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” (2002-03).

The show’s first season premiere was delayed from March 24, to April 7, after Lopez’s family became the victims of a home invasion, which prompted an intense search by the police. Lopez had filmed her character leaving work on March 28, and her husband was also out.

The opening of “Señorita Lopez” was set for April 6, several weeks after “Ugly Betty,” but “Señorita Lopez”‘s March 24 premiere was delayed due to weather. The network also had ordered 10 more

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