CW drawing a fang gang
Thursday night was already shaping up to be a broadcaster bloodbath this fall, but CW’s “Vampire Diaries” really sunk its teeth into the competition in its bow.Proving there’s no end to auds’ fascination with romancing the undead, “Vampire Diaries” opened to the largest viewership in the net’s three-year history — nearly 5 million viewers. And, not surprisingly, it was especially dominant among femmes 12-34. CW can now breathe much easier, since its biggest move heading into the new season was replacing the aging “Smallville” on the advertiser-rich night with “Vampire Diaries.” And the strong numbers for “Vampire Diaries” takes some of the sting out of the net’s less-than-stellar launch for “Melrose Place” just two nights earlier. But in seemingly finding a solid piece for Thursday, CW has only added to what figures to be the most stacked night of broadcast programs in memory. Thursday is now home to last season’s No. 1 firstrun program on ABC (“Grey’s Anatomy”), CBS (“CSI”) and NBC (“The Office”) as well as the hottest new programs from last season — the Eye’s “The Mentalist” and Fox’s “Fringe,” both of which have migrated from Tuesday. And then there’s longtime reality champ “Survivor” on CBS, the award-winning NBC comedy “30 Rock” and the buzzed-about ABC rookie entry “FlashForward.” Can you say “DVR”? Looking at the numbers on Thursday, “Vampire Diaries” opened with a 2.1 rating/7 share in adults 18-49 and 4.91 million viewers overall for its preem. It logged a 2.2/8 in adults 18-34 and a potent 3.1/10 in the more narrow women 18-34 demo that CW has increasingly been targeting. The small-town sudser also scored well in female teens (3.5/14), an aud that has helped drive “Twilight” to a big B.O. finish at the theaters. The 8 o’clock hour starts getting more crowded this week, as “Survivor,” Fox drama “Bones” and NBC’s combo of “Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update” and “Parks and Recreation” all premiere. “FlashForward” then comes aboard during the official “premiere week” on Sept. 24. At 9, “Supernatural” opened its fifth season with a 1.4/4 in 18-49 and 3.40 million viewers overall — down a bit vs. its opener of last season but up slightly in women 18-34. Combined, “Vampire Diaries” and “Supernatural” gave CW its highest-rated Thursday in adults 18-34 (1.8/6) since March 2007 and its best ever in women 18-34 (2.4/7). Elsewhere Thursday, NBC Sports got the football season off to a monster start with its kickoff NFL game between the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans (8.6/25 in 18-49, 20.91 million viewers overall). Game, which was decided in overtime, is the most-watched season opener since the league began its Thursday premieres in 2003. It’s also the most-watched sporting event since the Super Bowl. Cable’s top performer in key demos was Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 3.20m), which topped Lifetime’s competing “Project Runway” (1.4/4, 3.12m) for a second straight week. This repped a season high in 18-49 for “Housewives” as well as the net’s highest-rated Thursday telecast to date. “Runway,” meanwhile, continues to pace ahead of all previous seasons through its fourth week.