Originals Boost USA in Primetime


Original fare, headed by the finale of limited series The 4400, abducted more viewers for USA Network in primetime than any other service in basic cable last week.

NBC Universal Cable’s general-entertainment service averaged a 2.4 household rating and some 2.13 million households Aug. 2-8, according to a Disney ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

All told, some 2.91 million viewers tuned in USA on average during primetime that week, according to a Turner Entertainment Research analysis of Nielsen data. USA was also tops among two key adult demo measures over the span.

Disney Channel -- which benefited from its original telepic, Tiger Cruise -- finished second in the span, averaging a 2.4 household rating mark, ahead of Turner Network Television and Cartoon Network, each with 1.8 marks.

Fox News Channel was fifth with a 1.6, while there was a logjam among TBS, Lifetime Television and Nick at Nite, all with a 1.5.

Rounding out the top 10 in primetime last week, ESPN finished ninth at a 1.3. A&E Network, boosted by Growing Up Gotti, the highest-rated original series debut in its history; FX, riding the strength of its dynamic dramatic duo of Nip/Tuck and Rescue Me; and Turner South, augmented by its coverage of Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball games, all posted 1.2 ratings.

Gauged on a total-programming-day basis, Nickelodeon was first with a 1.9, well ahead of channel-sharing service Nick at Nite and Cartoon Network, both with 1.5 averages, according to the Disney ABC Cable analysis. Disney Channel was fourth with a 1.3, edging TNT’s 1.2.

The 4400’sfinale was basic cable’s highest-rated show last week, grabbing a 4.7 Aug. 8 from 9 p.m.-10 p.m. The penultimate installment served as a powerful lead-in the hour before, earning a 3.1, good for a share of 14th overall for the week.

With a 3.7 mark, USA’s The Dead Zone, which followed The 4400’sconcluder, was tied for fifth with the first hour of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.’s Monday Night Raw on Spike TV Aug. 2 The Aug. 6 episode of USA’s Monk was second for the week with a 4.5 from 10 p.m.-11 p.m.

USA was first among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demo with 1.22 million viewers, and it topped adults 25-54 with 1.38 million. It came in second among adults 18-34, scoring 471,000 of those watchers on average.

It was also a big week for TBS among key adult demos. The “very funny” channel took the gold among adults 18-34 with 487,000 of those viewers on average; the silver among the 18-49 set (just under 1 million); and bronze among adults 25-54 (963,000).

TNT was second for the week with 1.04 million adults 25-54 and third with a 943,000 average among the 18-49s.

Comedy Central also broke into the Nielsen medal round: a third-place finish with 447,000 18-34 watchers.