NBC dominated the ratings Thursday night with a whopping
8.8/24 in the key adults 18-49 demo and 27.5 million viewers, thanks to the NFL
kickoff game, a rematch of last season's NFC Championship meeting between the
Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints.
NBC scored the best overnight for any NFL kickoff game ever
with the Vikings-Saints matchup posting a 16.5 rating/28 share, according to official national numbers from Nielsen Media Research.
The close contest (the Saints topped the Vikings by a five-point spread) was a
welcome development for the net, scoring the highest ratings for any NFL regular
season primetime game in 12 years, and highest ever for NBC.
The ratings are up 29% over last year's season-opener, which scored a 13.8/23
for the Titans-Steelers OT game. Not surprisingly, the top two metered markets
for last night's game were New Orleans and Minneapolis, which registered a
60.0/78 and 43.8/64, respectively.
Beyond the NFL, The CW launched a second round of premieres, with Nikita making its debut and Vampire Diaries returning for its
Diaries opened the night with a 1.6/5
rating with adults 18-49 and 3.4 million viewers, dropping 24% in the demo from
its series debut last fall. The drama was, however, on par with its overall
first season average, and enjoyed a 2.8 rating among The CW's target women
18-34--the best numbers for the demo since February.
At 9 p.m., newcomer Nikita was a mark
below its Diaries lead-in in the key
adults demo with a 1.4/4, though it was up 9% in total viewers with 3.6 million.
The series also scored a 1.9 rating in its target women 18-34, an all-time high
with the demo in the time slot for original programming. Nikita also matched Supernatural's premiere in the same time slot one year ago,
and drew the second largest audience in that period since January 2009.
Of The CW's two series premieres this week--Hellcats
and Nikita--the later fared 17%
better than Wednesday's Hellcats
premiere, thought it also benefited from Diaries
Despite the NFL's ratings takeover, CBS' Big
Brother held up well, up 9% to a 2.5/8 with adults 18-49. ABC's two-hour Rookie Blue finale was also up 9% in the
demo with a 1.2/3.
Fox aired repeats.