CW's 'Melrose' premiere nets 2.3 million viewers

CW’s attempt to recapture the mid-’90s ratings magic of Fox fell short in its first go-round Tuesday night: The rebooted “Melrose Place” — the first series debut of the fall — opened to nothing-special numbers behind the second-season preem of “90210.”

The net was hoping to get a jump on the competish, but the dramas were beaten in most broad ratings categories by a mix of reality and repeats on the other nets. They did perform decently among CW’s target aud of young femmes — with both finishing second in their slots in women 18-34 — but will face tougher competish in the weeks ahead.

According to preliminary Nielsen estimates (nationals were delayed due to the lingering effects of Labor Day), “90210” opened its soph season with a 1.3 rating/4 share in adults 18-49, 2.56 million viewers overall and a 1.7/6 in adults 18-34.

While the numbers are below the show’s three-week post-premiere averages of last fall (1.6/5 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall and a 2.2/6 in adults 18-34), the net noted that “90210” did outperform its May sweep averages. 

Following “90210,” “Melrose Place” averaged a preliminary 1.3/3 in 18-49 and 2.3 million viewers overall — on par with the bow for the now-canceled “Privileged” in the time period a year ago. “Melrose” averaged a fourth-place 1.5/5 in adults 18-34 but moved up to second place in women 18-34 (2.5/7), retaining nearly all of its lead-in from “90210” (2.6/8).

While the start was not great — and “Melrose Place” declined a bit in its second half-hour — CW could be pleased with its compatibility with “90210.” As with all new shows, the best indicator of its long-term potential lies in the weeks following its debut.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, reality shows ruled as Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” was again the top demo performer (prelim 3.5/11 in 18-49, 7.6 million) and NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” (prelim 2.8/8, 11.7 million from 9 to 11 p.m.) remained the night’s most-watched program overall.

And at CBS, “Big Brother” (prelim 2.7/7 in 18-49, 8.1 million) nearly caught “Talent” for the 9 o’clock hour’s 18-49 lead, drawing its largest overall aud on any night this summer. Show wraps with a two-hour finale next Tuesday.

Over on cable, FX motorcycle drama “Sons of Anarchy” got off to a roaring start in its season-two launch, averaging 4.2 million and nearly doubling its series preem score in 18-49. Among men 18-49, show’s 1.9 million viewers stands as the most ever for a single telecast of an FX skein.

(Stuart Levine contributed to this report.)

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