Cable Off to Strong Summer Ratings Start

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Basic cable is kicking off the summer with its best start ever in terms of households and viewers 18-49 in primetime.

The six broadcast networks are at record lows and have lost 1.9 million households -- the equivalent of Detroit in terms of TV homes -- in the second quarter to date, according to Turner Research.

Cable’s share of primetime household viewing in the second quarter as of June 24 is a 56.8, up from 56.1 the prior-year period, according to a Turner Research analysis of Nielsen Media Research data. Broadcast is at a 37 share, down from 39.5 last year.

Turner is forecasting that cable will end the quarter with a 57.3 household share in primetime and broadcast will post a 36.3.

In four years, cable has doubled its lead over broadcast in second-quarter household share, increasing to a 13.3 from a 4.9 in the second quarter of 2004.

In addition, the Big Three broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS and NBC -- hit a median age of 50 this year to date.

Quarter to date in terms of total viewers, USA Network is No. 1 with 2.54 million. It is followed by TNT and TBS, with a 2.4 million and 1.58 million, respectively.

TBS’ June 6 debut of the sitcom House of Paynewas ad-supported cable’s No. 1 sitcom telecast of all time, with 3.6 million households and 5.9 million total viewers.

And TNT drama The Closer broke its own record June 18 by scoring cable’s best delivery of all-time for a series telecast among total households and viewers. It drew 6.4 million homes and 8.8 million viewers.

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