'The Shield' has average season premiere

New series 'Sons of Anarchy' bows modestly

The seventh and final season premiere of FX's "The Shield" debuted on par Tuesday night, while the network's new series "Sons of Anarchy" got off to a modest start Wednesday.

After a 15-month absence, cop drama "Shield" returned at 10 p.m. Tuesday to an average of 2.1 million total viewers, including 1.3 million in the adults 18-49 demo, according to Live + Same Day data from Nielsen Media Research. That's even with the April 2007 sixth-season premiere.

Meanwhile, "Anarchy," the motorcycle-club drama starring Charlie Hunnam, averaged 2.5 million total viewers at 10 p.m. Wednesday against competition that included coverage of the Republican National Convention.

That was off when compared with other recent FX series premieres, including "Damages" (3.7 million in July 2007), "The Riches" (3.8 million in March 2007) and "Dirt" (3.7 million in January 2007).

However, a repeat at 11:16 p.m. averaged another 1.2 million total viewers.

In 18-49, "Sons" pulled in 1.5 million at 10 p.m. and another 817,000 for the repeat.

Elsewhere, Wednesday night's "America's Next Top Model" two-hour premiere was the lowest-rated in CW history (3.5 million viewers, 1.7 preliminary adults 18-49 rating/5 share), while Fox's two-hour "Bones" premiere (9.3 million, 3.3/9) was dead even with its Tuesday premiere number last year. "Bones" ranked as the night's highest-rated show, and Fox was the highest-rated network.