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Spain welcomes ‘Mentalist’

Strong debut on La Sexta

Hot fall freshman skein “The Mentalist” has hit strong out-of-the-gate numbers in Spain — just as U.S. series appeared to be losing some of their shine on Spanish broadcast networks.

Bowing back-to-back Thursday primetime on terrestrial web La Sexta, the first two episodes of “Mentalist” took an 11.1% share and 2.2 million viewers for the first, and 13.1% and 2.3 million for the second.

Ratings broadly doubled Sexta’s average 6.1% January channel share. They also mark Sexta’s biggest bow ever, and its best result for a non-sports event.

The “Mentalist” bow is particularly sturdy, given the competition.

The soph season of “Sin tetas no hay paraiso” (Without Tits There’s No Paradise) bowed to spectacular ratings on top-ranking commercial web Telecinco.

The sex, drugs, mafia and shoot-’em-up meller, a remake of the Colombian format, took 30.1% and a maximum 5.3 million.

“Mentalist” rolled off a massive in-house ad campaign by La Sexta, which trumpeted it as “No. 1 in the U.S.” — in reality it’s the No. 1 rookie — including pop-up ads during Sexta’s popular Saturday night soccer slot.

The “Mentalist” bow comes as golden oldie hits such as Telecinco’s “CSI” and Cuatro’s “House” are sagging.

The other hot U.S. broadcast network rookie, “Fringe,” is reaping enthusiastic word-of-mouth among online pirates in Spain. It bows today on paybox Canal Plus.

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