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Ratings: Break Out the Hamsters, ‘V’ Is a Hit!

ABC’s remake scores best 8 p.m. debut since “Lost.”

Leapin’ lizards: They have arrived — and they kicked some butt.

ABC’s "V" notched a 5.0 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 13.9 million viewers in its Tuesday premiere, dominating its tough Tuesday timeslot to bow as the top-rated new show of the season. It beat out the premieres of "The Cleveland Show" and "NCIS: Cool J," according to preliminary fast national Nielsen data.

Just as encouraging for ABC: The alien invasion drama added viewers throughout its broadcast. It gave the network its best Tuesday night premiere since 2003, and the best Tuesday debut for any network since 2005 (both among adults 18-49).

And the best stat of all? "V" had the best demo rating for an 8 p.m. premiere since ABC’s "Lost" in 2004. Fingers crossed over in Burbank that history might repeat itself.

Indeed, while both "Cleveland" and "Cool J" had the advantage of being spin-offs with top-rated shows as lead-ins, "V" had to be a self-starter. File this performance as another job well-done by the mustache-twirling geniuses at ABC marketing.

Of course, "V" did have the advantage of being a beloved name brand for folks between 30 and 50. The original miniseries soared to 40-share territory for NBC in the 1980s.

Critics also embraced the aliens: Metacritic gave it a healthy score of 67. (That score would’ve been higher, but a cabal of fun-hating New York-New Jersey killjoy critics couldn’t get over the fact that "V" isn’t "Battlestar Galactica.")

ABC now has to hope viewers stick with the show through its four-week run this month– and then return after the show takes a scheduled three-month hiatus to avoid the "American Idol" and Olympics juggernauts. Warner Bros. TV recently changed showrunners on the series after ABC executives expressed concerns over the creative direction of the series.

As Mama MoJoe said just now (she called while we were penning this report), "If the storyline sucks, the ratings are going to go down. Just like ‘Heroes.’ That was so good and it turned to crapola."

For the record, Mama MoJoe loved the "V" pilot. (And, by the way, never misses a chance to tell me ABC’s "Modern Family" is "hilarious!" She’s got taste, that one.)

As for the competition, "V" shook up the Tuesday landscape a little bit, slowing NBC’s momentum with "The Biggest Loser" and CBS’ red-hot "NCIS."

"Loser" (3.1/8) was down 16 percent and tied its lowest score of the season. "NCIS: Original Recipe" (4.2/11) declined 11 percent in the demo (but still easily won the hour among all viewers).

"V" didn’t prove to be much of a boost to ABC’s "Dancing with the Stars" (3.1/8), which was up just a tad vs. last week.

Fox was pretty much on par week-to-week, with "So You Think You Can Dance" (2.4/6) failing to show the big momentum the network might have liked.

At 10 p.m., ABC’s "The Forgotten" (2.0/6) was flat vs. last week, while NBC’s "The Jay Leno Show" (2.0/6) was up 11 percent. CBS’ "The Good Wife" (2.7/8) won the timeslot.

For the night, CBS finished first in the demo (3.4/9), just ahead of ABC (3.3/9). NBC (3.0/8) came in third, followed by Fox (2.4/6).