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U.K. ‘Shore’ lifts MTV

Show bows with four times slot average

The U.K. version of “Jersey Shore” bowed with MTV’s biggest local ratings in years.

“Geordie Shore,” set in the northeastern city of Newcastle, where locals are affectionately known as Geordies, scored more than four times the slot average for MTV’s U.K. channel.

The first show, aired Tuesday, drew an average audience of 320,000 (1.77 share) across the 10 p.m. hour, plus a further 25,000 (0.26 share) on MTV+1, according to ratings analysts Attentional.

This slot has lately averaged an audience of 79,000 (0.45 share).

Attentional said this was MTV’s highest audience since the beginning of 2006, the earliest figures it had available.

MTV has been hyping the show, aided by such social networking sites as Facebook and Twitter, and the interest of the British tabloids.

The U.K. take on “Jersey Shore,” whose highest audience to date in Blighty is 126,200 (0.69 share), looks likely to be more outrageous than the U.S. original thanks to more relaxed attitudes toward nudity and bad language on the smallscreen in the U.K.

Before the launch, MTV’s website promised bare breasts, cavorting in the hot tub (essential to keep out Newcastle’s chilly east winds) and general hedonistic horse-play fueled by champagne.

Auds weren’t disappointed and, judging by the ratings, neither was MTV.

“Geordie Shore” is made by Lime Pictures, currently on a roll thanks to the BAFTA-award winning “The Only Way Is Essex,” another series that depicts a group of twentysomethings having a good time.