Five and a half years after Jersey Shore ended its six-season run on MTV, its revival, Jersey Shore Family Vacation, returned to the network last night. The premiere of Jersey Shore Family Vacation drew a 2.96 rating (Live+same day) in MTV’s target demographics of people 18-34 — 2.88 for the first episode at 8 PM and 3.03 for the second. In total viewers, the opener averaged 2.5 million (L+SD), 2.4 million for the first episode and 2.6 million for the second.

While below the stratospheric rating records for the original series in its heyday (8.9 million viewers, 8.2 rating in 12-34), these are strong numbers for a cable reality series in the current environment, especially in the demo. Jersey Shore Family Vacation was the highest rated unscripted cable series launch in 18-34 in six years.

The 2.96 demo premiere rating edged Jersey Shore‘s final season’s average 2.82 in 2012 and more than doubled the rating of the original Jersey Shore debut in 2009 (1.38). The December 2012 series finale of Jersey Shore drew 3.1 million viewers and a 2.8 rating in 12-34, the demographic MTV was focusing on and reporting back then. Jersey Shore Family Vacation also was way up from the November debut of follow-up series, Floribama Shore, 846,000 total viewers (L+SD), 0.94 rating in 18-34.

Last night’s two-hour global premiere – a first for MTV – was the most social show of the day, with #JSFamilyVacation trending on Twitter in the U.S. for seven hours.

The Shore franchise includes MTV’s Floribama Shore, currently shooting its second season, Geordie Shore in the UK, Gandia Shore in Spain, Warsaw Shore in Poland, Acapulco Shore in Mexico and Super Shore.

Jersey Shore Family Vacation features original housemates Deena Nicole Cortese, Paul “Pauly D” Delvecchio,” Jenni “JWoww” Farley, Vinny Guadagnino, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino who reunite in Miami for the vacation of a lifetime.