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'Glee' premiere may make Fox happy

September 11, 2009|Scott Collins

Given that Fox's new high school show, "Glee," has already attracted a cult following, there was considerable speculation about how it would do in its official premiere Wednesday night.

Turns out the show passed a key audition, but it's still too soon to tell its ultimate fate. "Glee" attracted 7.3 million viewers and won its time slot among adults ages 18 to 49, according to early data from Nielsen Media Research.

That put "Glee" -- a kind of cross between "High School Musical" and "Freaks and Geeks" -- a strong No. 2 to NBC's "America's Got Talent" (9.7 million viewers) for the night. And the Fox show easily beat "Talent" among young adults.

But Wednesday was an unusual night for prime-time TV, so there's no telling where "Glee" will settle. The other broadcasters opened the evening with coverage of President Obama's speech about healthcare reform, which disrupted normal viewing patterns.

And because the fall season doesn't officially start for nearly two more weeks, the real competition has yet to weigh in.

"Glee" eventually will face off against two crime shows with solid fan bases: NBC's "Law & Order: SVU" and CBS' "Criminal Minds," plus two new ABC comedies.

Fox is betting that "Glee" can be its breakout hit this fall. The network aired a special preview last spring behind "American Idol" and showed another episode to rabid fans this summer at Comic-Con in San Diego.

Wednesday also saw the season premieres of Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" (6.5 million) and the CW's "America's Next Top Model" (3.2 million).

Both series under-performed based on their past results, with "Top Model" dipping to its lowest-rated premiere ever.

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scott.collins@latimes.com

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