Ad-lite 'Fringe' bow modest

'90210' takes a tumble in its second outing

In the first face-off of new fall scripted series Tuesday, Fox's supersized "Fringe" performed modestly, while last week's breakout hit, the CW's "90210," fell back to Earth.

Airing with a lighter load of commercials, the 90-minute "Fringe" debut averaged 9.1 million viewers and a 3.2 rating/9 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, less than the 3.3/9 posted by the season premiere of Fox's "Bones" on Sept. 3.

While it wasn't vintage "X-Files" in the ratings — especially with all the promotion surrounding it — the supernatural drama beat all original competition on the night in the demo and grew in viewers and adults 18-49 from 8-9:30 p.m. "Fringe" is expected to benefit from having "House" as a lead-in in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, CW's "90210" (3.2 million, 1.7/5) dropped precipitously from last week's premiere — 32% in adults 18-49 and 26% in viewers — finishing fifth in the hour. Even in its core demo, women 18-34, "90210" fell 36% and was just barely ahead of the ratings for "Big Brother" and "Wipeout" in that demo.

In the 8 p.m. hour, "90210" also was beaten by the midseason finale of ABC Family's "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" in total viewers (4.5 million) and all key 18-34 and 12-34 demos.

Also slow Tuesday were the premiere of the CW's "Privileged" (2.6 million, 1.2/3) at 9 p.m. and the special airing of Fox's game show "Hole in the Wall" (4.1 million, 1.9/5), which both fell sharply from their lead-ins. (partialdiff)