James Hibberd
April 15, 2011 AT 04:49 PM EDT

The debut of Will Ferrell on NBC’s The Office gave the comedy a ratings raise Thursday night. The Office introduced Ferrell’s potential Michael Scott replacement Deangelo Vickers and delivered 7.7 million viewers and a 3.9 adult demo rating — up 15 percent from the show’s last original episode. The Office was the night’s top-rated scripted show and sported the highest rating for the series since late January. (Though having CSI and Grey’s Anatomy in repeats couldn’t have hurt either).

The boost is also impressive considering the comedy’s poor lead-in — Paul Reiser’s new sitcom.No way to sugarcoat this: The show tanked. Debuting at 8:30 p.m., The Paul Reiser Show was seen by only 3.3 million viewers and had a 1.1 preliminary adults 18-49 rating, ranking as the lowest-rated show on a major broadcast network. That’s down 48 percent from the premiere of the now-defunct Perfect Couples in the slot, and fell 21 percent from its Community (3.5 million, 1.4) lead-in. And that’s also with CBS’ rival sitcom Rules of Engagement airing a repeat (which still beat Reiser).

Elsewhere Thursday: American Idol (20.9 million, 6.1) won the night, tied with last week, while Bones (11.9 million, 3.7) spiked 16 percent.

Read more:

‘The Office’ recap: Somehow, He Manages

‘American Idol’ recap: Guy’s Night Out

You May Like