September 10, 2010 at 04:26 PM EDT

Image Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW; Ben Mark Holzberg/The CWA rematch of last season’s NFC Championship between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints on NBC blew the competition out of the water Thursday, stealing a lot of The CW’s thunder and its much-anticipated debut of Nikita. Even the return of cult fave The Vampire Diaries took a hit: The young girls clearly preferred the sight of the Vikings’ Brett Favre than a pair of handsome bloodsuckers because the football game even dominated in the young female demographics, not to mention the many other viewers across the spectrum. (Women 25-54? Teens? Infants? No problem!) It’s no surprise, then, that NBC won the night in viewers (22.9 million) and all the key demographics.

Still, Nikita’s premiere didn’t look too shabby. The sight of star Maggie Q in a tiny red bathing suit attracted an average 3.56 million viewers and actually built on the lead-in from Diaries, which averaged 3.34 million. Nikita also matched the all-time high for The CW in the Thursday 9-10 p.m. time period for original programming among women 18-34 (1.9/5). Diaries, in comparison, retained about 87% of its adults 18-34 from a year ago and about 90% of its women 18-34. 

Meanwhile, part one of the of the three-night, Big Brother finale was up 9% versus last week in the adults 18-49 demographic. It averaged 7.71 million viewers. Go, Lane!

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