Hot July for USA, TNT


Benefiting from an array of programming, USA Network saw its household ratings grow by nearly one-half to grab a share of the primetime-ratings lead in July with Turner Network Television.

Both services finished the June 28-July 25 span with 2.2 household-ratings averages, according to a Disney ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

USA registered a 47% rise in the process from a 1.5. Its Nielsen fortunes were bolstered by limited series The 4400, as its July 11 premiere was tied for the top-rated show of the month with a 5.7 (matching ESPN’s coverage of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Home Run Derby July 12), with a pair of subsequent installments also making their way into the top 10.

NBC Universal Cable’s general-entertainment network also scored with episodes of quirky detective series Monk and fellow original skein The Dead Zone. And off-network series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was a mainstay among the leading shows for the month.

For its part, TNT -- which is scoring nicely with its own limited series, The Grid -- was ahead 10% from a 2.0 the prior year.

Disney Channel (flat) was third with a 1.8, while Lifetime Television (off 17%), Cartoon Network (down 6%) and Turner South (not rated last year) were knotted for fourth, all at a 1.4.

Regional entertainment network Turner South rode the strength of a number of Atlanta Braves MLB games to its exalted position. Indeed, the network, along with USA, claimed a share of the primetime-ratings crown from July 19-25, each with 2.3 household averages.

Rounding out the top 10 in primetime during July: Nick at Nite (not measured a year ago) and TBS (down 7%), both notching a 1.4; Fox News Channel (up 8%) with a 1.3; and ESPN (ahead 20%) at a 1.0.

FX and Sci Fi Channel, which were up 38% and 22%, respectively, finished just outside, with both scoring 1.1 averages for the month.

Gauged on a total-programming-day basis, Nickelodeon was in its accustomed spot: first place with a 1.9, a mark 12% higher than its prior-year performance and 46% greater than runner-up Cartoon’s (even) 1.3 mark.

Nick at Nite and TNT (up 9%) were next at 1.2 apiece, while Disney was in fifth at a 1.1, despite a 15% drop.

Completing the top 10: Lifetime (down 17%) and USA (plus 25%), each with a 1.0; TBS (off 20%) and Fox News (ahead 14%), both at a 0.8; and MTV: Music Television, which grew 17% to a 0.6 average.

Among key adult demos, Turner-owned networks held sway.

TNT was first among adults 18-49 (1.11 million of those viewers) and 25-54 (1.22 million) and third among the 18-34 crowd (457,000). TBS was first with that younger group (487,000), nosing out MTV (486,000), and it finished third with adults 18-49 (942,000) and 25-54 (868,000). USA came in second among the 18-49 set (1.10 million) and the older demo (1.21 million).

Another network showing a strong performance across the board was FX. Aided by plastic-surgeon series Nip/Tuck and the premiere of critically acclaimed Denis Leary firefighter vehicle Rescue Me -- the latter of which recorded a 3.3 household rating during its July 21 debut -- FX was fourth among both the 18-49s (795,000) and 18-54s (752,000) and sixth among 18-34s (372,000).