We may have the first breakout hit of the season. Fox’s quirky new comedy New Girl far exceeded ratings expectations with a huge debut, drawing a 4.7 rating/12 share among adults 18-49 to rank as the top program of the night by a wide margin. (UPDATE 9:15 AM: In the time-zone-adjusted Nielsen numbers just released by Fox, New Girl‘s premiere climbed to a 4.8/12.) In total viewers, the comedy starring Zooey Deschanel averaged 10.1 million viewers. Compared with the series premiere of Raising Hope in the same slot last fall, New Girl was up 52%. It posted Fox’s highest-rated live-action fall comedy debut in a decade, since Bernie Mac (5.7/14) in 2001. It even eclipsed the premiere of TV’s highest-rated comedy at the moment, ABC’s Modern Family, which opened with a 4.3 demo rating in 2009. It also paced Fox (3.9/10, 8.7 million) to a nightly win in the 18-49 demo. That is a nice validation for Fox’s marketing team, whose controversial decision to make the show’s pilot available on iTunes and VOD before the premiere raised concerns that the exposure might hurt ratings for the opener. (Unofficial estimates peg the number of streams at about 2 million.) New Girl also shot up from its lead-in, Glee (3.8/11, 8.9 million), whose third-season premiere was down sharply from the big Season 2 opener, by 31%. (All comparisons in this story are fast nationals to fast nationals. UPDATE 9:15 AM: In the time-adjusted numbers, the Glee premiere rose to a 4.0/11.) Following New Girl, the second season of Raising Hope (3.1/8, 6.9 million) was even in the demo with its premiere last fall when it followed Glee.