Lynette Rice
March 31, 2010 AT 04:20 PM EDT

More bad news for the ailing sci-fi genre: The heavily hyped return of V only averaged 7.2 million viewers last night and was bested by a rerun of CBS’ The Good Wife (8.07 million), according to fast national ratings provided by ABC. The return of the serialized drama about an alien species did win its timeslot among the all-important adults 18-49 (2.9 rating/8 share) but that number is sure to drop when Julianna Margulies and Co. comes back with original Good Wife episodes next week. That was V’s lowest 18-49 rating for this season and it only retained 73 percent of its Lost lead-in, though the episode is likely to pick up a million or more viewers when the numbers come in for DVR playback.

Overall, ABC had a respectable showing on Tuesday. Thanks to the reality show powerhouse Dancing with the Stars and Lost, ABC averaged 10.4 million viewers last night — enough to earn second place behind Fox and the Death Star that is American Idol (21.3 million).

V was already facing an uphill battle by returning to the schedule after such a long hiatus. Before its three-month break, the show had lost 35 percent of its audience over just four airings last fall (14.3 million to 9.3 million). FlashForward faced similar difficulties when it returned to the schedule two weeks ago.

ABC did it’s best to tout the return of V, a redux of the 1984 series. The network aired multiple promos for the show during last month’s Oscars and risked the ire of Lost fans last night by running a countdown to the premiere in the corner of the screen. Both V and FlashForward have yet to receive second season pickups.

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