After narrowly edging out NBC with the premiére of Arrow Wednesday night, The CW chalked up a second, improbable night in not-last-place in the 8 p.m. hour Thursday, as The Vampire Diaries not only beat NBC’s 30 Rock and Up All Night in the 18-49-year-old demo, but also tied ABC’s Last Resort. Scoring a 1.6 in that demo to 30 Rock’s 1.4 and Up All Night’s 1.2, the fourth season premiére of the somewhat critically acclaimed teen drama (by which we mean critically acclaimed by us) also pulled in more viewers—with 3.48 million—than in all but one of its third season episodes. (It also stacks up nicely to where the show’s average was in its second season, which posted those higher ratings regularly.) One caveat: These are non-final numbers, and could well be adjusted downward. Indeed, last night’s NFL game aired on The CW in the Pittsburgh market, and while that seems unlikely to pull Vampire Diaries so far down that it falls beneath the NBC comedies (due to the Pittsburgh market’s smaller size), it might help Last Resort breathe a sigh of relief.
In addition, NBC and ABC could boast, somewhat at least, about the viewership numbers, however, as Last Resort pulled 6.93 million viewers, and 30 Rock grabbed 3.82 million. Up All Night, however, fell behind Vampire Diaries in that category, too, though narrowly, grabbing only 3.46 million viewers. 30 Rock, of course, is in the middle of its final season, so it doesn’t really matter what ratings it posts. Up All Night and Last Resort, however, are both working with only 13-episode orders, orders which seem unlikely to be extended, though an argument can be made that last night’s vice presidential debate messed with network ratings enough that last night should be counted as a sort of mulligan. (Possible evidence of this: The night’s number one show, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, was down significantly in the demo, from a 4.9 last week to a 4.2 this week.) Add into that that The CW is in the midst of its premiére week and that it was the only network to not air the debate, and there’s some evidence to pursue this line of thought further. Also: All network shows had to go up a set of exciting baseball playoff games, and while the divisional series is usually the lowest-rated part of the baseball playoffs, these series do get more highly rated as they go along.
That said, no one should excuse the 18-34-year-old women of America for driving the premiére of Beauty And The Beast, the worst new show of the fall, to a 1.3 in the demo with 3.16 million viewers. Those numbers are fantastic for The CW, which seems to have been rewarded for its late premiére strategy. It doesn’t change that the show is awful and should be destroyed with fire, however.