MTV’s Punk’d and Jersey Shore offshoot The Pauly D Project got off to a solid start last night, though they could’ve probably done better with the title recognition and star power involved. Punk’d drew a 2.7 persons 12-34 rating and 3.2 million total viewers in its premiere at 10 PM, and Pauly D garnered a 2.72 12-34 rating and 2.9 million total viewers at 10:30. While Pauly D‘s audience was down 62% from the viewership for the most recent season premiere of Jersey Shore, it still ranked as the No. 2 cable program last night in 12-34 behind Punk’d.
During its New Year’s Eve program, MTV revealed details about the long-in-the-works return of Punk’d: A new season of the celebrity hidden-camera series will premiere on March 19. Original host Ashton Kutcher will be succeeded by a bevy of guest hosts, including Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Kellan Lutz, Bam Margera and Punk’d alum Dax Shepard. A preview unveiled tonight features Cyrus orchestrating a prank on Khloe Kardashian involving a bizarre emergency. Unlike the original series, the new Punk’d will also offer a behind-the-scenes look at how the elaborate pranks were put together. Punk’d is executive produced by the show’s co-creators, Katalyst’s Jason Goldberg and Kutcher.
Fifteen months after we first reported that MTV is bringing back celebrity hidden-camera series Punk’d, the cable network today acknowledged the series’ existence for the first time. While MTV confirmed that Katalyst’s Jason Goldberg and Ashton Kutcher — the masterminds behind the original series that ended its run in 2007 — are back as executive producers, the network stopped short of announcing any involvement of pop star Justin Bieber, who had been attached to the reboot. MTV will introduce the new Punk’d with a sneak peek during its New Year’s eve show, NYE in NYC 2012 on December 31, when MTV plans to reveal details about the reboot — including host(s).