Newest "Jersey Shore" draws big audience to MTV

Fri Jan 7, 2011 6:06pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The premiere of the third season of reality show "Jersey Shore," yielded the highest viewership for the show yet and the most ever for a series telecast on MTV, the network said on Friday.

The first show of the third season, which aired on Thursday, saw the cast return to Seaside Heights, New Jersey and drew a record 8.45 million viewers to the dramatic antics of the likes of Snooki, The Situation and new cast member Deena Nicole Cortese. The second season was set in Miami.

About 6.5 million of Thursday night's viewers were in the coveted 12 to 34-year-old age group, MTV said, which is appealing to advertisers looking to attract younger audiences.

"Jersey Shore," a reality program about a group of men and women in their 20s all living together, has become a smash hit for MTV in its first two seasons.

The third season drew attention before it even aired, when Snooki, whose real name is Nicole Polizzi, was arrested while filming in July and was sentenced to community service for disorderly conduct.

(Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Bob Tourtellotte)