'Jersey Shore' Scores Most-Watched Season Premiere Ever

Last night's season opener drew 8.8 million total viewers.

Jersey Shore just keeps growing and growing.

Last night's season premiere of the MTV reality series was the cable network's most-watched opener to date, drawing 8.8 million total viewers, improving 4 percent over the third season opener earlier this year. Jersey Shore also beat broadcast's top program, CBS' Big Brother, in total viewers (8.8 million vs. 7.3 million).

Though last night's episode was a premiere high, a Jan. 20, 2011 telecast delivered a series best in total tune-in, averaging 8.9 million. That episode showed Snooki being released from jail and Deena meeting a Ronnie look-alike.

The premiere episode, set in Italy, was also Jersey Shore's third most-watched telecast to date, behind two Season 3 episodes. In the persons 12-34 demographic, the Jersey Shore premiere scored a 8.2 rating, or 6.5 million viewers.

The Hollywood Reporter recently spent three days on the Italy set for Jersey Shore with the cast and executive producer SallyAnn Salsano and it was revealed that the EP had counseled against making it a competition series. “One week it was fist-pumping, one week tanning — all kinds of craziness,” she says.

Email: philiana.ng@thr.com