It’s hard to resist the potent cocktail of ’90s nostalgia and sexed-up fresh faces that The CW’s new 90210 promised — and the ratings bear that out. Tuesday’s series debut garnered 4.9 million viewers, making it the highest-rated premiere in network history among adults 18-49 and beating reigning buzz queen Gossip Girl‘s numbers from the previous night (by 1.5 million viewers!). Its audience also grew throughout most of the two-hour extravaganza of pill-popping, drink-swilling, and sex-act-in-parking-lot-having. The numbers, along with those for Gossip and One Tree Hill, signaled a promising start to The CW’s pivotal third season, giving it momentum before facing real competition as other nets roll out their premieres in the coming weeks.
Elsewhere, summer programming remained in its waning days, with NBC’s America’s Got Talent winning the 8-10 p.m. block (with about 10.6 million viewers) and ABC’s Wanna Bet ending its run at a weak 3.9 million viewers at 9 p.m. And NBC, for what it’s worth, won the hour of Republican National Convention coverage at 10 p.m. with about 4.9 million viewers.