NFL kickoff sets record; CW's 'Nikita' opens solid, 'Vampire Diaries' dips
UPDATED: Up against a record-setting NFL opening game on NBC, The CW fired its second round of premieres Thursday night, with "Vampire Diaries" returning for a sophomore season and the network's "Nikita" reboot making its primetime entrance.
Opening the evening, "Vampire Diaries" (3.4 million viewers, 1.6 adults 18-49 rating) returned down 24% in the demo compared to its series opener last fall, though the drama was on par with its overall first season average. "Diaries" had its best women 18-34, The CW's target, since last February.
"Nikita" (3.6 million, 1.4) at 9 p.m. dropped slightly from its "Diaries" lead-in in the adult demo, though grew 9% in total viewers. "Nikita" also matched the premiere rating of CW stalwart "Supernatural" in the time period last fall, and scored the largest audience in the time slot since January, 2009. "Nikita" was able to maintain its audience throughout its hour.
For those who missed them, The CW plans to repeat both "Nikita" and "Hellcats" tonight. Between the two, "Nikita" performed 17% better than Wednesday's "Hellcats" premiere, though also benefited from a stronger and scripted lead-in. Critic reviews on "Nikita" averaged a bit better than "Hellcats," according to Metacritic. THR's review was lukewarm, while Salon and TV Guide were positive.
Both Thursday night shows were up against NBC's NFL Opening Kickoff, which, while not exactly aiming for The CW's target demo, drew such huge numbers that it had to influence the playing field.
The Vikings vs. Saints game was the most-watched NFL regular season game on any network in 14 years. It's also the best-ever rating for an NBC regular season football game.
The rematch of last year's NFC Championship drew 27.5 million viewers and a 10.7 rating -- "American Idol" levels.
That's great news for NBC, which promotes its fall lineup during its NFL coverage.
Other regular programming seemed unfazed by the NFL games, especially when compared to last week's pre-holiday-weekend slump. ABC's two-hour "Rookie Blue" (4.9 million, 1.2) finale was up 9%. CBS' "Big Brother" (7.8 million, 2.8) was up 12%.
The broadcast surge didn't much bother "Jersey Shore." Though the MTV hit didn't set another record this week, the show was steady with 6.4 million viewers and a 3.3 rating.
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