'Jersey Shore' Final Season Premiere Takes a Nearly 40 Percent Ratings Hit

Jersey Shore Final Season Key Art - H 2012

Jersey Shore Final Season Key Art - H 2012

More than a few viewers decided to not join MTV for the beginning of its final trip to the Jersey Shore last night.

Though the exiting reality series opened to a formidable 4.7 million viewers and a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49, losing out to only the NFL on all of cable, it marked a 38 percent drop from the last season opener in January.

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The most recent run of Jersey Shore premiered to 7.6 million viewers and a 4.0 rating in the key demo. Compared to the season four opener, which aired this time last year, Jersey Shore was down from a nearly 9 million haul and a 4.3 rating with adults 18-49.

Showing some signs of fatigue last season, Jersey Shore still easily remains MTV's top-rated program. And at the 10 p.m. hour, last night's premiere even beat all of broadcast offerings in the demo, though it did tie CBS' Elementary.

Airing a second episode at 11 p.m., 8.7 million total viewers tuned in for the first two outings -- and with encores, the show attracted 11.96 million total viewers. Within the network's ever-desirable persons 12-34 demographic, the episodes ranked as the top two programs of the night with a 4.4 and 4.0 rating, respectively.

Recently renewed spinoff Snooki & JWoww debuted to a respectable 2.4 million viewers and a 1.1 rating among adults 18-49 in June.