Going against ESPN's big BCS Championship game, ABC kicked off a new season of "The Bachelor" on Monday night to beat NBC, CBS and Fox in the ratings.
The two-hour "Bachelor" premiere, introducing Juan Pablo Galavis and the 27 competing women, drew an average of 8.48 million viewers overall and a rating of 2.7 among key 18-49-year-olds, according to early numbers from Nielsen.
"The Bachelor" was the highest-rated nonsports telecast of the night in the advertiser-coveted young adults demographic, and came in second in total viewership. The episode increased its rating 17% from last year's opener in the demo and hit a three-year high for a "Bachelor" premiere in both total viewership and the 18-49 category.
ABC's "Castle" was the most watched network show, with 8.78 million viewers, though its 1.8 rating in 18-49 was down 14% from its last original episode in November. ABC's average young-adults rating of 2.4 was its best this season.
Fox's "Almost Human" returned from its midseason break with 6.2 million people watching and a 1.7 in the demo, up 6% from its last original.
CBS' "Hostages" continued its poor showing in back-to-back episodes, including its finale. The 9 p.m. episode drew a 1.1 rating, while the finale earned a 1.0. The last episode lost to a rerun of NBC's "The Blacklist."
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