TV Ratings: NBC's NFL opener dominates CW's solid 'Vampire Diaries,' 'Nikita' premieres
Vikings-Saints game comes in huge, while 'Nikita' improves on 'VD' in viewers
The low-scoring NFL opener between the Saints and the Vikings dominated Thursday night for NBC, scoring huge overall and demo numbers and leaving the competition in the dust.
Amongst that competition, The CW had the most notable performances with the solid return of "The Vampire Diaries" and the encouraging premiere of "Nikita," which actually improved on its lead-in in total viewers.
For the night, NBC averaged an 8.8 rating among adults 18-49, tops in the key demographic. CBS was second in the demo with a 1.6 rating, followed by The CW, which made a rare appearance in the middle of the pack with a 1.5 rating. ABC's 1.3 rating followed closely, with FOX's 0.9 rating coming in fifth.
Overall, NBC averaged an estimated 22.9 million viewers to go with a 13.8 rating/22 share. CBS was a distant second with a 4.3/7. ABC's 3.1/5 was third. FOX claimed fourth with a 2.3/4, holding off the 2.1/3 for The CW.
NBC's NFL pregame and the start of the game between Minnesota and New Orleans kicked things off with an 11.6/20 and a 6.9 demo rating in the 8 p.m. hour. CBS' "Big Brother" was second with a 4.6/8 for a non-elimination Thursday. ABC's "Wipeout" repeat was third, beating the 2.9/5 for FOX's "Bones" repeat. The CW's "Vampire Diaries" premiere had a 2.0/3, averaging 3.35 million viewers and a 1.6 demo rating. If you're keeping score at home, the first season finale of "TVD" averaged just under 3.48 million viewers and a 1.7 demo rating in Fast Nationals back in mid-May.
The Vikings and Saints stayed in first for NBC in the 9 p.m. hour, improving to a whopping 16.0/26 and a 10.3 demo rating. CBS was a distant second with a "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" repeat, which topped the low 3.2/5 for a new "Rookie Blue" on ABC. The CW's "Nikita" premiere did a 2.2/4, averaging nearly 3.57 million viewers, though the new drama dropped slightly to a 1.4 demo rating. Those "Nikita" numbers are a big improvement in viewers over what "Supernatural" did last season and a small advantage in the demo. FOX had a 1.6/3 for a "Fringe" repeat.
[Note: This was the second straight night that The CW got an unexpected 9 p.m. audience build, following "Hellcats" and its slight improvement over "America's Next Top Model" on Wednesday.]
The conclusion of NBC's NFL opener did a 13.8/23 and a 9.3 demo rating in the 10 p.m. hour. CBS' repeat of "The Mentalist" was second, beating the 3.1/5 for a second new "Rookie Blue" for ABC.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change, particularly in the case of live events.