USA Network (www.usanetwork.com) has begun 2009 in good stead, finishing January as cable's highest-rated basic network in primetime, according to Nielsen Media Research.
The "Characters Welcome" network rode January season debuts of popular original series Monk, Psych and BurnNotice to a 2.3 primetime household rating for the month, besting TNT and Disney Channel, which both averaged a 1.7 rating for second place.
Fox News Channel was next with a (1.6 rating), followed by Nick At Nite (1.5) ESPN and TBS (tied with a 1.4 rating). Hallmark, A&E and History, all with a 1.3 rating, rounded out the top 10 for the month.
Four CNN shows, including the top three, surrounding the news network's Jan. 20 coverage of President Barack Obama's inauguration were among the top 10 most-watched watched shows for the month. CNN's coverage of Obama's 30-minute inauguration speech drew the most viewers during the month with 8.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
Two ESPN college football bowl games - the Dec. 30 Oklahoma State-Oregon Pacific life Holiday Bowl telecast (6.2 million viewers) and the Dec. 29 Missouri-Northwestern Alamo Bowl (6.0 million) - finished fifth and seventh respectively, while USA's Monday Night Raw episodes from Jan. 19 (6.1 million) and Dec. 29, 2008 (5.9 million) pinned down the sixth and 10th places respectively.
Nickelodeon's Jan. 3 episode of iCarly drew 6.4 million - good for fourth place, while the Jan. 9 debut of the seventh and final season of Monk counted 8 million viewers to finish eighth.