'Intent' Is Smooth 'Criminal'


USA Network’s debut of Dick Wolf’s Law & Order: Criminal Intent last night was the leading entertainment show on cable in both key demos and total viewers.

The show, whose original episodes previously unwrapped on sister service NBC, attracted 3.8 million total viewers on Oct. 4, according to Nielsen Media Research data. Included in that total: 1.7 million persons 18 to 49 and 1.9 million 25-to-54 viewers.

Officials at the network said Criminal Intent’s  25-to-54 delivery ranked as the highest entertainment telecast – outside of sports and WWE – for a cable network on a Thursday night against broadcast in at least the last two TV seasons.

The premiere also racked up significant demo gains against the same night last year 98% among adults 18 to 49 and 132% among the 25-to-54 set; 70% and 77%, respectively, when gauged against the time period the previous week; and 88% and 103% versus the network’s averages in last year’s fourth quarter.

In a windows-changing move, NBC Universal announced last spring that the first plays of Criminal Intent will bow on the characters network, with an encore play then available for NBC. Traditionally, broadcast has been the home for original series before the installments move to local stations and/or cable for the syndicated window.