RATINGS: MTV’s ‘Jersey Show’ Off to a Solid Start

It’s not a smash hit, but buzz plus controversy should equal even more viewers in the weeks ahead

MTV’s much-hyped and mega-Tweeted "Jersey Shore" is off to a strong start with some of the network’s core audiences.

Thursday’s supersized two-hour premiere was the No. 2 show of the night among women 12-34, according to Nielsen. It averaged a 1.2 rating in that demo, finishing behind only one other cablecast: Bravo’s monster hit, "The Real Housewives of Orange County."

It also improved MTV’s performance in the time period by triple digits vs. the past month.

That’s great news for MTV, since young women drive buzz on reality shows. Get them hooked, and they’ll soon be demanding their boyfriends tune in as well.

Actually, "Jersey" didn’t do half-bad with younger men, at least relative to other female reality soaps. It notched a 0.9 with men 12-34, ranking 15th overall for the night. (By contrast, Bravo’s "Housewives" finished No. 59 in the same dude demo, with a 0.3).

Since so many folks 35 and up have seen the very similar "The Real World" a zillion times, it’s no shocker "Jersey" didn’t do spectacularly with the broader 18-49 demo. The premiere scored a 0.8 in the demo, behind "Family Guy" repeats on TBS and FX’s "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

("Sunny" is shining bright this season: Last night’s episode was the No. 1 scripted show on cable among adults 18-49. Who knew? See what happens when you’re patient, trigger-happy broadcast networks?)

As for "Jersey," the media buzz — and the angry response from some Jersey partisans, detailed here in Dylan Stableford’s Media Alley — should only help drive up numbers for the show. That, and the 226 repeats of the premiere MTV has planned between now and next week.