"V" was seen by 14.3 million viewers and had a 5.2 rating among adults 18-49.
That's the biggest scripted series premiere rating for a freshman show this fall. And particularly impressive for a show that's self-starting ABC's lineup (it's the highest-rated 8 p.m. drama series debut since … ABC's "Lost," actually). Compared to the "Shark Tank" average in the time period, "V" was up a rather dizzying 213%.
"V" bested tough competition from "NCIS" (20.2 million, 4.3), which nonetheless ranked as the evening's most-watched show. The alien invasion drama gained 6% from its first half hour to its second.
Critics were a bit all over the map on "V", ranging from a rave in USA Today to NY Times calling it slapdash and formulaic to Hollywood Reporter landing somewhere in between. (Most agreed, however, that the scene below rocked).
Since a dissatisfied ABC changed showrunners on the series after seeing the first four episodes, it should be interesting to see if "V" is able to maintain its ratings strength over the coming weeks. If it does, ABC will bring back the show starting with Episode 5 in March. ABC's other new sci-fi drama, "FlashForward," also launched strong in an 8 p.m. slot, but has since softened in the ratings amid some viewer frustration and a showrunner shakeup.
The 8 p.m. "V" surge put ABC just a tenth of a point behind CBS for the nightly win. "NCIS" wasn't impacted much by "V," slouching 9% from its last original airing two weeks ago. "NCIS: Los Angeles" (15.3 million, 3.6) was down 8%. "Good Wife" (12.2 million, 2.7) won 10 p.m. and slipped a tenth.
After "V," audiences didn't stick around to boost ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" (15.1 million, 3.1), which was only up a tenth — very different crowds. "The Forgotten" (7.3 million, 1.9) was down a tenth.
NBC's two-hour "Biggest Loser" (9.1 million, 3.5) was down 10%. The Jay Leno Show" (6 million, 2.0) had a welcome rise from last Tuesday — up 11%. Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" (6.1 million, 2.4) slipped a tenth. The CW's "90210" (1.9 million, 1.0) was on par while "Melrose Place" (1.5 million, 0.8) gained a bit.