Boosted by the season starts of original series In Plain Sight and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, USA Network assumed its familiar perch atop cable's primetime weekly ratings.
The "characters network" notched a 2.3 household ratings average for week of April 13 through April 19, according to Nielsen Media Research, live + same-day data. In addition to its WWE Monday Night Raw franchise pinning the first and third-ranked hours for the week, the sophomore season premiere of In Plain Sight was fifth for the week with 5.11 million viewers in the 10 p.m. hour on April 19. The eighth season debut of L&O: CI was 12th for the week in the preceding hour, capturing 4.58 million watchers.
With Monday and Sunday night in its column, USA held a 0.3-point edge over second-place Fox News Channel, which averaged a 2.0 rating for the week. Disney Channel was third with a 1.9. TNT was fourth with a 1.5, ahead of Nick at Nite's 1.4 and TBS's 1.3.
Discovery Channel, which reeled in 4.16 million viewers for its Alaska Week installment of Deadliest Catch on April 14, was seventh with a 1.1 average.
There was a logjam at the bottom of the top 10 among A&E, ESPN, Cartoon Network, FX, Hallmark Channel and Lifetime Movie Network, all of which scored a 1.0 mark for the week.
The latter was driven in large part by the original movie Natalee Holloway, which scored 3.2 million viewers, the most in the service's 11-year history.
Nickelodeon, benefiting from a new SpongeBob SquarePants episode on April 17 that was second for the week with 5.78 million viewers and new hit series, The Penguins of Madagascar, finished, per usual, first in the total-day rankings with a 1.7 average. That was 0.3 points higher than Disney Channel, which had the ninth most-watched show of the week with the 4.82 million viewers who tuned in the Hannah Montana installment on April 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Rounding out the top five in total day: Nick at Nite with a 1.3, USA with a 1.2 and Fox News with a 1.1.