'90210' Gets Highest Ratings of Any CW Scripted Series

But Can It Still Draw Viewers When Network Shows Return?

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The CW raised some hackles when it said it wouldn't make the debut episode of "90210" directly available to TV critics or media buyers. And yet, the strategy appears to have paid off.
The CW said the premiere episode of '90210' reached an average of 4.9 million viewers for the program's two-hour telecast.
The CW said the premiere episode of '90210' reached an average of 4.9 million viewers for the program's two-hour telecast. Credit: The CW

Despite the fact that the series upon which "90210" is based, Fox's "Beverly Hills 90210," has been off the air for years, U.S. viewers apparently still have a yen to see teens gather round the Peach Pit and talk about the most pressing issues of their day. The CW said the premiere episode of "90210" reached an average of 4.9 million viewers for the program's two-hour telecast.

The network also said the program was the highest-rated telecast of any scripted series and the highest-rated premiere of a scripted series in CW history among women 18 to 34, adults 18 to 34, and adults 18 to 49.

Success is crucial
The success of "90210" is believed to be crucial to the network's fortunes. Like many other broadcasters, the CW was beset when a writers strike halted production of its programs and crimped development of new ones. The CW's ratings are noticeably lower than those of CBS, Fox, NBC and ABC, however, and media buyers have expressed concern that the network be able to build momentum.

To spark interest, the CW declined to make previews of the show available publicly, although it did make copies available to media-monitoring services.

The CW's flagship program, "Gossip Girl," also turned in decent ratings when it premiered Labor Day. The network said the sexy teen soap reached 3.4 million people, making it the second-most-watched episode of the program, slightly behind its series debut on Sept. 19, 2007.

The CW is launching its season as many of its competitors are still showing repeats. How these programs will fare as ABC, Fox, NBC and CBS start to roll out their shows remains to be seen.
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