'Dance,' 'Top Model' bow on the low side

Fox has reason to be happy about “Glee,” the high school-set musical skein that bowed to nice numbers on Wednesday.

The net’s biggest marketing priority of fall, “Glee” easily stood as Wednesday’s top demo draw and became Fox’s top fall scripted series preem in three years. It was especially strong in its targeted demo of women 18-34, a loyal faction that should help the show hang tough in the face of increased competish in the weeks ahead.

The other shows to bow on the night, meanwhile, reality vets “So You Think You Can Dance” on Fox and “America’s Next Top Model” on CW saw a somewhat sluggish start — despite the fact that they were opposed on ABC, CBS and NBC by President Obama’s health-care speech.

Looking at the Nielsens, “Glee” averaged a 3.5 rating/9 share in adults 18-49 and 7.50 million viewers overall with its official series premiere. It easily won its hour in demos despite facing three reality shows (“America’s Got Talent,” “Wipeout” and “Top Model”) that also score well with young auds.

Best news came in adults 18-34 (3.7 rating/11 share) and women 18-34 (5.4/15), with the show rating notably higher in both categories than did the preview episode of “Glee” that aired behind “American Idol” in May.

Show’s premiere-night median age of 38.2 is young for a scripted Fox hour, another factor that could help it when it goes up against crime dramas “Criminal Minds” and “Law and Order: SVU.”

And “Glee” also seems to have a compatible lead-in in “So You Think You Can Dance,” which opened its season with a 2.7/8 in 18-49 and 6.55 million viewers overall. While these numbers are below what its summer edition bowed with in late May, they’re not bad given the possible fatigue factor for a franchise that just wrapped that summer season five weeks ago.

At CW, the 13th-cycle premiere of “America’s Next Top Model” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 3.24m) came in down about 10% in most categories vs. last fall’s premiere. Despite continued declines in recent years, the show remains one of the net’s top performers, especially in women 18-34, where it scored a 2.7 rating/8 share and logged CW’s best Wednesday numbers since early March.

ABC’s “Wipeout,” airing in a special 9 o’clock time period, drew low numbers (1.8/5, 4.95m), as did NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” (2.1/6, 10.06m). Both shows likely lost audience to “Glee” and were impacted by President Obama’s address to the nation in the preceding hour.

Nielsen estimates that an average aud of 31.85 million viewers watched Obama’s speech — a larger crowd than that for his July press conference on health care (24.68 million) but well below the roughly 50 million who watched his two primetime speeches in February.

Ratings for the individual broadcast networks weren’t released, but Fox News led the cable news outlets with 4.4 million viewers, followed by CNN (2.7 million) and MSNBC (2.4 million).

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