Hoops Empty: USA Back On Top Of Primetime

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With TNT's highly rated coverage National Basketball Association playoffs completed, USA Network returned to the top of the cable network ratings heap last week.

Riding the strong returns for the premieres of its drama series Royal Pains and Burn Notice, USA finished first among ad-supported cable networks for the first time in six weeks, averaging a 2.5 household rating and 3.2 million total viewers from June 1 to June 7, according to Nielsen Media Research figures.

Fox News Channel was second with a 1.8 rating, followed by Disney Channel with a 1.7 rating. TNT, Nick at Nite and TBS all tied for fourth with a 1.3 rating, while Discovery Channel, TLC, HGTV and FX rounded out the top 10, knotted with a 1.1 rating.

The third-season debut of USA's spy drama Burn Notice barely edged out the troubled Gosselin family of TLC's John & Kate Plus 8 for the top spot among all cable programs. The June 4 installment of Burn Notice drew a shade under 6 million viewers, while a June 1 original episode of Jon & Kate garnered 5.94 million viewers. A second June 1 Jon & Kate episode placed fifth on the weekly list, pulling some 5.4 million viewers.

USA's new concierge-doctor-tinged freshman show Royal Pains finished third for the week, drawing 5.5 million to its series premiere June 4, following Burn Notice's lead-in.

TNT switched from the basketball court to the racetrack with its June 7 Sprint Cup NASCAR race coverage, which tallied 5.4 million viewers. The network's post-race coverage generated an additional 5.3 million viewers to finish sixth for the week. Two, one-hour blocks of USA's June 1 WWE Monday Night Raw wrestling show, Versus' Game 4 Detroit Red Wings-Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Finals telecast on June 4, and a June 7 episode of Disney Channel's Hannah Montana rounded out the top 10.