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Gossip Girl Return Promising

The stakes are high for the second season of Gossip Girl, which has generated copious buzz, not to mention sales of Tory Burch dresses, but only middling ratings for The CW.

The second season began promisingly Monday, hitting series highs in key demographics including adults 18-34 (2.3/7), women 18-34 (3.2/10), adults 18-49 (1.7/5) and women 18-49 (2.3/6), according to preliminary live-plus-same-day Nielsen Media Research ratings.

Monday night's premiere -- which came early in the fall TV season and at the end of the long Labor Day weekend -- also became the second-most-watched episode in the show's history, pulling in 3.4 million viewers, to put it slightly behind the series' breathlessly promoted debut last September.

At 9 p.m., the sixth-season premiere of One Tree Hill retained all of its Gossip Girl lead-in with 18- to 34-year-olds (2.3/7) and grew its female 18-34 audience slightly (3.3/9), giving The CW a win for the night in its target demos of young women and teens.

Gossip Girl averaged just over 2 million viewers last season. Confounding traditional Nielsen measurements, many of the show's intensely loyal young fans watched the show online.

NBC's Deal or No Deal won the 8 p.m. hour in the demo (2.6/7) and total viewers (10.9 million). And Fox's Prison Break prevailed in the demo at 9 p.m. (2.8/7), with NBC's America's Toughest Jobs taking in viewers with 7.3 million.