Big Brother ratings up slightly over last year

More people watched Big Brother 11‘s first episode than watched the debut of the 10th season last summer, and the episode was the top-rated show in its hour–although So You Think You Can Dance won the night.

Overall, 6.59 million people tuned in to meet the new hamsters and reintroduce themselves to blockhead Jessie. That’s up from last year’s lowest-rated debut ever, when 6.3 million watched the Sunday debut, at least according to numbers published by Variety back then.

In a press release today, CBS says that last year’s premiere was watched by 6.13 million, which obviously still represents an increase. Overall, CBS says the first episode was “up +10% in both households (from 4.0/07) and adults 18-49 (from 2.1/07), +20% in adults 18-34 (from 1.5/05), even in adults 25-54 and added +460,000 viewers (from 6.13m, +7%).”

The network also had success online–an 11 percent increase in viewers to its web site–although this is unsurprising since Big Brother has nearly always been about people who live and breathe online.

“Big Brother” Returns With a Time Period Win… [CBS press release]
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Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 37, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.