Pretty Little Liars Heats Up ABC Family

ABC Family whipped up some intrigue on Tuesday night, as the premiere of its newest original series Pretty Little Liars drew 2.47 million viewers at 8 p.m.

Designed to appeal to a more hip female crowd, Pretty Little Liars put up encouraging numbers, drawing 1.1 million adults 18-49 and 854,000 women 18-49, making it the second-most-watched series premiere among those demos in ABC Family history. (The July 2008 debut of The Secret Life of the American Teenager drew 1.2 million viewers 18-49, per Nielsen ratings data.)

Younger viewers also took a shine to the show, as ABC Family set a personal best with 1.74 million viewers 12-34 and 1.51 million females 12-34.

Based on a series of popular young-adult novels, Pretty Little Liars follows a clique of high school girls who contend with the stuff that teen angst is made of: boys, shoplifting and, um, murder. A stylish mash-up of themes explored in films such as Heathers and Mean Girls, the show is at once spooky and steamy, but chaste enough for its 8 p.m. time slot. It’s like Gossip Girl with a curfew.

It’s been a big week for ABC Family, which on Monday night bowed the third season of Secret Life to huge numbers. The 8 p.m. June 7 premiere served up 3.2 million total viewers, of which more than half (1.7 million) were members of the 18-49 demo. Also well represented were viewers 12-34 (2.3 million) and the key female demos (women 18-49: 1.3 million; females 12-34: 1.8 million).

When compared to the season two finale, Secret Life improved by around 20 percent in the major demos.

ABC Family closed out the first quarter of 2010 ranked No. 9 among all ad-supported cable nets, averaging 1.49 million total viewers in prime, a gain of 5 percent from the year-ago period. Deliveries of women 18-49 were flat in Q1, as the net held onto fifth place in the demo with 423,000 viewers. Adults 18-49 were off a few ticks to 649,000.

Last year, ABC Family took in $315.6 million in net ad sales revenue, an increase of 1 percent from 2008 per SNL Kagan estimates.