'Reunion' Keeps Hold on 'O.C.' Viewers

Friday, September 09, 2005

05:14 PM PT

The series premiere of "Reunion" Thursday did a solid job of holding onto the audience from its lead-in, "The O.C.," but its real test is still a couple of weeks away.

"Reunion," a time-tripping drama that will take viewers through 20 years in the lives of six friends over the course of one season, drew about 6.6 million viewers in its debut Thursday (Sept. 8) on FOX. It was preceded by "The O.C.," which began its third year in front of 7.5 million people.

The two shows also performed fairly well among their young-adult target audiences. "The O.C." won its hour among adults 18-49 (3.3 rating) and adults 18-34 (4.4), while "Reunion" was third in adults 18-49 (3.0, behind ABC's NFL opener and CBS' "CSI") and second in the 18-34 demo (3.5, trailing ABC). Among adults 18-49, it was FOX's best 9 p.m. Thursday premiere since "Action" six years ago.

While "The O.C." was down some from its premiere last season (which came in November), it still did better than its 2004-05 season averages in viewers and FOX's key demographics. The network is most pleased, though, with the way "Reunion" held onto those viewers.

"Reunion" held onto 88 percent of its total lead-in audience and better than 90 percent of "The O.C.'s" 18-49 rating. The three shows that aired regularly in the 9 p.m. slot last year -- "North Shore," "Point Pleasant" and "Tru Calling" -- averaged only 4.1 million viewers and a 1.8 rating among adults 18-49.

ABC won the night on all counts with its season-opening NFL game, while CBS got its usual decent showing from "CSI" and Co. "Reunion" will have one more week to hook viewers before original episodes of "CSI" return to CBS and NBC begins a new season of "The Apprentice" on Sept. 22. Things get even more crowded the next week, when ABC debuts "The Night Stalker" and The WB moves "Everwood" to the 9 p.m. spot.