Return of New Girl Zooey Deschanel boosts E4 ratings

The quirky US sitcom doubled the channel's average primetime audience and registered a major buzz on Twitter

Zooey Deschanel’s return to British TV screens in New Girl last night proved a boon for E4, doubling the channel’s average 9pm audience.

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The US sitcom – which sees Deschanel’s quirky school teacher Jess Day adjusting to life with three male roommates – was watched by an average overnight audience of 734,000 (a 3% share) across it’s hour-long double-bill, more than twice the channel’s average for the 9-10pm slot.

The first 11 episodes of New Girl aired on Channel 4 earlier this year, before the show was put on hiatus in mid-March “to allow for additional C4 content to premiere”. A return to Channel 4 was promised but C4 bosses subesquently decided that the show’s younger viewership (49% of whom fall into the 16-34 age bracket) was more in line with E4’s demographic.

Although last night’s audience was only about half that garnered by the show during its stint on Channel 4, a spokesperson said E4 was “extremely pleased” with the results.

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Meanwhile, New Girl caused a serious buzz on Twitter, eliciting the highest peak number of tweets per minute – over 1,000 –  and coming in second only to Big Brother (10-11pm) for overall buzz on the night. A total of 21,000 tweets about the show were sent during the first episode and in the half hour before and after it aired, according to social media analysts SecondSync.