The season two finale of Burn Notice burned very brightly Thursday night.
The March 5 installment, going head-to-head with fresh episodes of NBC's ER and CBS's 11th Hour, drew a series best 6.1 million viewers, with a 4.5 national rating, according to Nielsen Media Research data. The episode also scored a series best 2.74 million adults 18 to 49 and 3.07 million adults 25 to 54. Compared to the mid-season finale this summer, last night's telecast was grew 33% among 18-to-49 viewers, 37% with the 25-to-54 set and 31% in total viewers.
Pending final data calculations, USA Network officials project that the second half of Burn Notice's sophomore campaign improved 9% among adults 18 to 49, 7% among persons 25 to 54 and 7% with average viewers, versus the episodes that aired last summer.
USA executives say Burn Notice has been the No. 1 series on cable year to date, beating TNT stalwart The Closer by 46% among adults 18 to 49 and by 15% against persons 25 to 54.
Relative to the season finale, it was not only the biggest telecast on cable on March 5, but beat a number of broadcasters in the process. USA said the show ranked first on TV among men 18 to 34 in its 10 p.m. timeslot; topped an encore of ABC's Private Practice in that hour among adults 18 to 49 by 55%, persons 25 to 54 by 44% and total viewers by 36%; and outperformed ABC's entire primetime lineup, including a fresh Ugly Betty episode and a repeat of Grey's Anatomy, with the aforementioned demos.