'Jersey Shore' Premiere Highest Rated MTV Episode EVER

01/08/2011 11:43 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

LOS ANGELES — More than 8 million viewers watched Snooki and company return to "Jersey Shore."

The third season premiere of the MTV reality TV series was the most watched series telecast in the cable network's history, MTV announced Friday. The network said 8.45 million total viewers tuned in to the show, which chronicles the carryings-on of a group of hard-partying, 20- and 30-somethings at a beach house on the Seaside Heights, N.J., boardwalk.

The second season was set in Miami.

MTV announced last month that it signed a deal with Paul "DJ Pauly D" DelVecchio to star in his own spin-off series.

An actor with ties to another prominent New Jersey series, James Gandolfini of "The Sopranos," flashed a look of distaste when he was asked at a news conference in Pasadena whether he watched "Jersey Shore."

"No, no, no, no," Gandolfini said.


MTV is owned by Viacom Inc.