Another week, another ratings record for Jersey Shore. The red-hot MTV reality phenomenon drew 8.9 million viewers last night, beating last week’s record of 8.6 million. In adults 18-49, it averaged a 4.7 rating, also a new record, making it the second highest-rated program on TV last night behind Fox’s American Idol.
Facing Jersey Shore at 10 PM was the premiere of USA’s new light drama Fairly Legal (3.9 million viewers). That was lower than USA’s most recent series premiere, Covert Affairs, also featuring a female lead, which posted 4.9 million viewers in its July debut. However, it’s hard to make apples-to-apples comparisons as Fairly Legal is the first USA series to debut in the winter. The series, starring Sarah Shahi as a mediator, held onto a solid 87% of its lead-in, the Season 3 premiere of Royal Pains (4.4 million). That was down from the 5.9 million audience for the third season opener but that too aired in the summer as this is Royal Pains‘ first winter season premiere. Elsewhere on cable, the season finale of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Bravo averaged 2.8 million viewers.