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ABC's 'V' lands with big bang

November 4, 2009 | 10:24 am

V

They came. They saw. They sort of conquered.

ABC's remake of "V" got off to a strong start Tuesday night. The series, which will run through November and then return in March, came in second to CBS's juggernaut "NCIS" in viewers with 13.9 million tuning in, but easily won the 8-9 p.m. hour in the 18-49 demographic with a 5.0 rating, which translates to about 6.6 million people. (Each rating point in the 18-49 demographic equals 1.3 million people.)

The audience and the 18-49 demographic performance for "V" almost tripled from what ABC usually averages with the reality show "Shark Tank" in that time slot. The show, about aliens who seem friendly when they come to Earth seeking water but actually have ulterior motives, built its audience in the second half-hour, which is generally a good sign that interest in the show held throughout the episode.

There was not much of a trickle-down effect from "V" for the rest of ABC's lineup. "Dancing With the Stars" averaged 14.5 million viewers and finished third in adults 18-49 with a 3.1 rating, and "The Forgotten" was forgotten about, drawing 7.6 million viewers and tied NBC's "Jay Leno" with a 2.0 in adults 18-49. 

Thanks to the "NCIS" franchise, CBS won the night in viewers with 15.6 million and 18-49 with a 3.4 rating. ABC was second with 12 million viewers and a 3.0 rating. NBC averaged 8 million viewers and a 3.0 rating, while a baseball-less Fox came crashing back down to Earth with 6 million viewers and 2.4 in adults 18-49.

For history buffs: We did a little digging (actually, we called ratings guru Tom Bierbaum at NBC) and found that the premiere episode of the original on NBC in 1983 scored a 25.4 rating, which translates to about 21.2 million households. That would, we're guessing probably translate to more than 40 million viewers but we're not scientists. Keep in mind, this was before people meters and demographic information and even cable. Ah, those were the days.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: ABC's "V." Credit: David Gray / ABC

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