MTV’s Jersey Shore juggernaut keeps destroying everything in its path, as the Seaside Heights gang last week put up the biggest deliveries on basic cable.
Per Nielsen live-plus-same day ratings data, the Feb. 3 installment of MTV’s indefatigable hit served up a whopping 8.26 million total viewers in its 10 p.m. time slot, down only slightly from the previous episode’s record delivery of 8.83 million.
As one might expect, Jersey Shore also beat all comers among the 18-34 demo, drawing 4.89 million, while winning handily with the 18-49 set (5.93 million). The show’s reach is so broad that it even finished fourth on the week among the older demo, delivering 3.17 million adults 25-54.
As the ratings do not reflect time-shifted viewing, advertisers are not getting the full picture. Given that the show gets as much as a 40 percent lift courtesy of the DVR, it’s safe to assume that new episodes are being devoured by as many as 12 million total viewers.
When its 16 repeat performances are added up, Jersey Shore in the week ended Feb. 6 drew a cumulative 26.9 million viewers. Even the least-viewed screening, a repeat that aired at 2 a.m. Thursday morning, still managed to draw 663,000 viewers.
Teen Mom also continues to deliver, as the Feb. 1 episode drew 3.8 million total viewers in the Tuesday 10 p.m. time slot. Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of those viewers were members of the 18-49 demo, while 60 percent fell into the 18-34 range.
On the week, MTV finished first among viewers 18-34 in prime, with an average nightly draw of 705,000. It also took third place with viewers 18-49, averaging 861,000.
USA Network won the week outright, serving up 3.18 million total viewers, of which 1.28 million were adults 25-54. The network also won out among the 18-49 demo, with an average draw of 1.16 million.
With an average 5.28 million fans tuning in Monday night between 9 p.m. and 11:06 p.m., USA’s Monday night wrestling showcase once again scared up the network’s largest crowd. WWE Raw also reached 2.49 million viewers 18-49 and 2.44 million adults 25-54.
Off-net acquisition NCIS accounted for eight of USA’s 10 biggest deliveries last week. For example, on Saturday night at 10 p.m., the Mark Harmon vehicle averaged 4.45 million viewers, or about 577,000 more than the original scripted series Royal Pains churned up Thursday at 9 p.m. Up against Jersey Shore, USA’s freshman dramedy Fairly Legal retained 95 percent of its Pains lead-in, drawing 3.67 million viewers.
Non ad-supported net Disney Channel took second place on the week, delivering 2.43 million total viewers in prime and sweeping each of the kids’ demos. Third place went to History, which posted an average nightly draw of 2.09 million viewers, thanks in large part to its Monday night lineup.
Unscripted hits Pawn Stars and American Pickers continue to electrify History’s deliveries, averaging 7.52 million and 6.62 million total viewers respectively on Jan. 31. In fact, Pawn Stars is approaching Jersey Shore- levels on dominance on Monday nights, beating the pack in its target demo with 4.2 million adults 25-54, while trailing only the GTL crew among viewers 18-49 (3.86 million).
Monday’s dynamic duo helped lead History to a second-place berth among adults 25-54 (1.01 million) and 18-49 (949,000).
On the far end of the week, Discovery Channel has begun carving out a space for itself on Friday nights. The new series Gold Rush: Alaska dug up some 3.66 million total viewers and 2.61 million adults 25-54 in its 10 p.m. slot, improving on its lead-in, Flying Wild Alaska, by 58 percent. Gold Rush was Friday’s most-watched show on basic cable among adults 25-54 and men 25-54.
Last week also saw an uptick in cume events, as Animal Planet once again counter-programmed Sunday’s big game with the Puppy Bowl and Oxygen took the wraps off its first scripted acquisition. The 12-hour Puppy Bowl marathon reached a total 9.2 million viewers, an aggregate that includes a delivery of 1.73 million viewers in the first two hours (3 p.m.-5 p.m.).
On the previous day, Oxygen over a period of 12 hours stripped out six episodes of the Fox musical comedy Glee, reaching a total audience of 10.6 million viewers. On a single-episode basis, the 10 p.m. Installment (“Special Education”) proved to be the biggest draw, averaging 1.08 million total viewers; not far behind that was the 8 p.m. episode (“The Substitute,” 1.07 million). All told, Oxygen averaged 885,000 viewers during its Glee stunt.
On the heels of the marathon, Oxygen is developing a companion unscripted competition series that will feature contestants battling for a guest stint on Glee. The reality show will bow this June. Sources eyeballed Oxygen’s investment in the Glee package at between $500,000 and $600,000 per episode.