TV Ratings: 'Jersey Shore Family Vacation' Premieres Strong

The reality phenomenon returns to MTV after a five-year break.
Courtesy of MTV
'Jersey Shore Family Vacation'

MTV went back to Jersey Shore on Thursday. And while the reality show's audience was an obvious fraction of its glory days, the premiere of the reunion run Family Vacation had a solid outing.

Returning to the air after a (not terribly long) five-year break, Jersey Shore mustered an average of 2.5 million viewers over two hours in the Miami-set reboot's 8 p.m. debut. Among MTV's younger set, the show pulled a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demo.

To say that the original Jersey Shore's ratings were unprecedented doesn't even do them justice. With humble beginnings, like any cable reality show, the series premiered in 2009 with barely 1.4 million viewers. The run that followed reached the astronomical highs of nearly 9 million live-plus-same day viewers in early 2011, before the show closed up shop less than two years later with 3 million viewers.

Those numbers were still impressive by cable standards, but viewer interest had clearly flagged and the cast was making untenable salaries that had been renegotiated at the height of Jersey Shore's success. (Their pay started at a mere couple of thousand dollars, eventually hitting $100,000 an episode.)

MTV is clearly invested in courting Jersey Shore nostalgia for as long as it can. The network, whose ratings have been on a rare upturn over  the past year, gave the green light to a second season of Family Vacation more than a month before its premiere.

Scripted TV clearly doesn't have the exclusive on reunions and reboots. The popular trend is evidenced throughout reality TV, with Jersey Shore joining Netflix's revival of Queer Eye as the second big genre revival of 2018.