Rednecks, Juice Heads Are Big Cable Draws

History’s eclectic lineup of Vegas pawnbrokers, Iowa antique collectors and that stand-up comic with the phony Southern accent helped the network nail down prime-time ratings victories among the two major TV demos.

Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data, History eked out wins among adults 25-54 and 18-49, drawing 1.13 million and 1.05 million members of the demos, respectively. In the week ended Feb. 13, History squeaked past USA Network, outlasting cable’s lead dog by some 12,000 adults 25-54 and 17,000 viewers 18-49.  

Unscripted series Pawn Stars and American Pickers continue to power History’s success, as the former averaged 6.41 million viewers Monday night (Feb. 7) from 10-11 p.m., while its lead-in drew 5.43 million viewers. Pawn Stars last week showed no signs of fatigue, beating all comers in its target demo with 3.5 million adults 25-54, while lagging behind only MTV’s monster hit Jersey Shore among the 18-49 crowd (3.39 million, versus 5.51 million).

Launched on Tuesday, Feb. 8, the redneck travelogue Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy scared up 4.11 million total viewers at 9 p.m. The series premiere drew an older cohort, averaging 1.74 million adults 25-54, or 42 percent of its total delivery, while viewers 18-49 (1.54 million) made up slightly greater than one-third of the audience.

Although his appeal may be a mystery to some, Larry the Cable Guy is one of the most successful working comedians in the business. The alumnus of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour ranks No. 6 on Forbes’ list of the top 10 touring stand-up acts, earning $16.5 million in the 12-month period ended June 1, 2010.

On the whole, History closed out the week rated second among ad-supported cable nets, with an average nightly delivery of 2.26 million total prime-time viewers.

For the fourth consecutive week, USA Network won the ratings race outright, delivering 2.77 million total viewers, of which 1.12 million were adults 25-54 and 1.03 million were members of the 18-49 set.

With an average 4.93 million fans tuning in Monday night between 9 p.m. and 11:06 p.m., USA’s WWE Raw was once again the network’s biggest draw. The wrestling block served up 2.28 million viewers 18-49 and 2.2 million adults 25-54.

USA’s original scripted series Royal Pains churned up 3.86 million viewers Thursday at 9 p.m., while lead-out Fairly Legal retained 90 percent of its Pains lead-in, drawing 3.47 million viewers. Of those who watched the fourth installment of the Sarah Shahi vehicle, 42 percent were members of the 25-54 demo.

Meanwhile, the sophomore strip White Collar was stable, notching 3.46 million viewers in its Tuesday 10 p.m. time slot, a total that included 1.46 million adults 25-54 and 1.4 million viewers 18-49. Three episodes of the spy dramedy remain before season two draws to a close on March 8.

On Thursday night’s Jersey Shore on MTV, the couple who just never could be bothered to put the “fun” in “dysfunctional” finally called it quits in front of 7.85 million gawkers. Once a shining monument to the glories of passive-aggressive behavior, the dissolution of Sammi and Ron’s relationship was the most watched bust-up on TV, with some 5.51 million viewers 18-49 looking on. Another 4.52 million viewers 18-34 bore witness as Ron Ron demolished Sammi’s belongings while Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino tried to stay out of harm’s way.    

A half-hour postmortem also scared up some gorilla juice head-sized numbers, as the 11 p.m. Jersey Shore After Show retained 69 percent of its lead-in (5.44 million viewers).

MTV’s Teen Mom also continues to deliver, as the Feb. 8 episode drew 3.44 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 58 percent fell into the 18-34 range. Other MTV notables were My Life As Liz (1.71 million total viewers), I Used to Be Fat (1.33 million) and Skins (1.19 million).

For the fourth straight week, MTV finished first among viewers 18-34 in prime, averaging 694,000. The net dipped three notches to take sixth place with viewers 18-49, averaging 854,000.

Rounding out the week’s top three was TNT, which averaged 1.94 million total viewers, nearly half of whom were adults 25-54 (886,000, or 46 percent) and 18-49 (879,000, or 45 percent). A rematch of last season’s NBA Championship Series was cable’s biggest sports draw of the week, as the Celtics and Lakers served up 4.71 million NBA on TNT viewers. Boston’s 92-86 home court loss earned 2.48 million viewers 18-49 and 2.28 million adults 25-54.

Tops among the crucial TV demo were History, with an average delivery of 1.05 million viewers 18-49; USA (1.03 million); FX (949,000); TNT (879,000); A&E (858,000); MTV (854,000); TBS (849,000); ESPN (806,000); Discovery Channel (684,000) and Comedy Central (681,000).
Among all basic cable nets, non ad-supported Disney Channel once again took second place on the week, delivering 2.54 million total viewers in prime and sweeping each of the kids demos. The Mouse’s top draw was a screening of the theatrical Toy Story 2, which drew 5.49 million viewers Sunday night between 7:30 p.m. and 9:10 p.m.