After months of hype and wondering, the wait came to an end last night. CW network execs were likely huddled around their big-screen TVs, praying that the new 90210 would deliver some big numbers. Luckily for them, it did — at least compared to other CW shows.
It’s no secret the CW network has been in serious trouble for many months. Viewership has been reaching record-setting low numbers and it’s been rumored that, if things don’t improve, corporate owners CBS Corp. and Warner Bros. will be pulling the plug on the newbie network. Of the CW’s many new Fall shows, 90210 has been attracting the most interest by far. If this high-profile show couldn’t bring in the viewers, what chance would the rest of the CW schedule have?
Well, last night’s two-hour premiere of 90210 attracted an average of 4.9 million viewers — that’s huge for the CW — and set records in key demographic areas. The ratings for women 18-34, adults 18-34, and adults 18-40 were the highest for a series premiere in the CW’s 24-month history. In addition, the 18-49 rating matched the network’s highest rating ever in that demographic group.
CW’s President of Entertainment, Dawn Ostroff, said, “I was really thrilled, I was relieved, I was excited [about 90210’s ratings].” She continued, “I knew this would appeal to a broader audience than our other shows. We are really happy with the Nielsen numbers, I really think this show is going to soak into the zeitgeist.”
Of course, the real measure of the show’s success will come in the next few weeks. Many series have had great launches but their viewers dwindle away as subsequent episodes air. It’s certainly a good sign that essentially everyone that started watching 90210 at 8pm stuck around to watch the entire two hours. But is the show interesting enough to entice a large audience to return each week, forsaking original programming on other networks? Stay tuned!