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Ratings: A Great Start for Glee on Thursdays

GLEE: Will (Matthew Morrison, L) introduces a Marley (Melissa Benoist, R) as a new member of the glee club in "The New Rachel," the Season Four premiere episode of GLEE airing on a new night and time Thursday, Sept. 13 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2012 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Mike Yarish/FOX

Thursday's Glee-boot was a Nielsen winner. Per Nielsen, season four of Ryan Murphy's weekly song-and-dance spectacular averaged 8.1 million viewers and, more importantly, averaged a 3.3 rating with viewers under 50 in its new post-X Factor home. That's up nearly 25 percent from the show's average last season, when it aired 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and had to kick off the night; it's up about 10 percent from the show's May season finale, which aired behind the performance finale of American Idol. What's more, Glee actually outperformed its X lead-in among most key under-50 demo groups and (along with X Factor) trounced the finale of NBC's America's Got Talent in those same demo groups. Talent did beat both Glee and X in overall viewership (10.5 million), but the show scored it least-watched finale ever. Turns out Howard Stern wasn't such a great investment after all, at least in terms of Nielsen payoff.

Photo: Mike Yarish/FOX