Season-Enders Boost USA


Led by finales of a summer run for Monk and TheDead Zone’s third season, USA Network grabbed basic cable’s top spot in primetime last week among households and key adult demos.

NBC Universal’s general-entertainment service averaged a 2.0 household rating from Aug. 16-22, topping the 1.8 marks pulled in by both Turner Network Television and Disney Channel, according to a Disney ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

Cartoon Network was fourth with a 1.7 average, ahead of the 1.6 recorded by both Nick at Nite and Lifetime Television. Rounding out the top 10: ESPN with a 1.4; TBS and Fox News Channel, both with a 1.2; and a 1.1 apiece for Discovery Channel and Sci Fi Channel.

USA also swept the adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 swaths with 476,000, 1.09 million and 1.19 million of those respective groups.

TNT was second among the two older groups (934,000 18-49 watchers; 1 million persons 25-54), while TBS was second among the younger set, counting 428,000 of those watchers last week, according to a Turner Entertainment Research analysis of Nielsen data.

For its part, ESPN took the bronze among all three groups with 394,000, 785,000 and 783,000 viewers, respectively.

Gauged on a total programming day, Nickelodeon had a substantial lead with a 1.9, versus a 1.3 for channel-sharing service Nick at Nite and Cartoon. Disney Channel and TNT ranked fourth and fifth with a 1.2 and 1.1, respectively.

USA rang up a 4.7 Aug. 20 for the ninth and final premiere episode of Monk’s third season, a performance that was good for second place overall last week, behind only TNT’s 4.8 for its coverage of the Nextel Cup auto race Aug. 22.

Seven more new Monk installments will return to USA’s schedule beginning in January, according to a USA spokeswoman.

The Dead Zone’s third-season finale, meanwhile, recorded a 2.7 Aug. 22, matching its average for the campaign, which was 22% higher than its second season.