MTV's 'Buckwild' Series Premiere Pulls 2.5 Million Viewers

Buckwild Muddy Truck Racing - H 2013

Buckwild Muddy Truck Racing - H 2013

Buckwild, MTV's slightly controversial new reality series about a group of backwoods West Virginia friends, debuted Thursday night to a decent haul of 2.49 million viewers over the course of its back-to-back premieres.

And while Buckwild's numbers are nowhere near the Jersey Shore highs many will likely want to use as a comparison, its premiere actually outperformed Jersey Shore's 2009 series launch of 1.375 million. It also outperformed the 2012 debut of recent Shore spinoff Snooki & JWoww (2.4 million) but fell shy of The Pauly D Project (2.9 million).

PHOTOS: 'Buckwild' and 17 Other New Midseason TV Series

The real test for Buckwild will come in subsequent episodes. Jersey Shore managed to triple its audience by the end of its freshman season, swelling to 4.8 million viewers, and ultimately to approach 9 million viewers two years later. MTV's former flagship signed off last month in Buckwild's Thursday time slot to a comparatively lackluster 3.1 million.

As for its critical reception, Buckwild seems to have an uphill battle.

"Buckwild is far worse than the sum of the others' parts," writes The Hollywood Reporter TV critic Allison Keene of the Jersey Shore and Honey Boo Boo hybrid. "Not only is it another tired portrayal of Southern stereotypes, but it's also inexcusably poorly executed."

Buckwild averaged a 1.4 rating with adults 18-49 and a 2.2 rating with people 12-34 over the course of the two half-hour episodes.