NBC gets boost Thursday with ‘Parks,’ ‘Southland’ premieres

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NBC got a shot of good news last night with decent premiere ratings for a new comedy starring onetime ‘Saturday Night Live’ star Amy Poehler and a Los Angeles cop drama from one of the creators of ‘ER.’

At 8:30 p.m., ‘Parks & Recreation,’ starring Poehler as a self-deluded bureaucrat in the mold of Steve Carell on ‘The Office,’ rounded up 6.8 million total viewers, according to early data from Nielsen Media Research. That was good enough for just third place behind CBS’ ‘Survivor’ (10.6 million) and Fox’s ‘Bones’ (8.5). However, ‘Parks’ scored better among the young adults NBC courts, with a second-place 3.0 rating/9 share in adults ages 18 to 49, for an impressive 91% retention of its lead-in from ‘The Office.’

At 10 p.m., ‘Southland,’ the new police drama from ‘ER’ producer John Wells, faced off against another premiere, CBS’ thriller, ‘Harper’s Island.’ In total viewers, ‘Harper’s’ pulled off a fairly narrow victory, 10.5 million versus 9.7 million. But a closer look reveals that NBC really took the prize. ‘Southland’ performed more strongly among young adults, with a 3.2 rating/9 share versus 2.7/8 for CBS. More important, NBC’s cop show grew its audience slightly during the hour, while ‘Harper’s’ shed viewers -- usually a clear sign of audience rejection for a premiere.

CBS and NBC tied for the night overall among young adults, with both networks averaging a 3.3 rating/10 share.


-- Scott Collins