USA Network Builds on Promise of Fairly Legal

USA Network gained ground on Thursday night, as its one-two punch of Royal Pains and the new series Fairly Legal added to their opening-night deliveries.

Leading out of Royal Pains at 10 p.m., Legal attracted 4.1 million total viewers, an improvement of 6 percent from its Jan. 21 debut (3.88 million). The Sarah Shahi dramedy drew 39 percent of its audience from the ranks of the 25-54 set; with 1.6 million members of the demo tuning in, Legal improved 1 percent from the premiere.

Accounting for 33 percent of its overall draw, Legal also delivered 1.36 million viewers 18-49, slipping 2 percent from the prior week. (Sophomore episodes generally decline as much as 15 to 20 percent from their premiere numbers, although USA’s originals tend to buck that trend.)

Despite slipping a few notches in its general deliveries, Royal Pains enjoyed significant demo gains. At 9 p.m., the Hamptons drama served 4.34 million viewers, down 2 percent from its winter premiere. At the same time, Pains shot up 10 percent with adults 25-54 (1.98 million) and 8 percent with the 18-49 crowd (1.62 million).

Nearly half (46 percent) of those who lined up for a shot of Pains were in the 25-54 target; meanwhile, viewers 18-49 made up 37 percent of the total audience.

The Thursday 10 p.m. time slot is becoming a magnet for funny, fizzy programming. Over on MTV, the Jersey Shore crew averaged 8.83 million viewers, just a smidgen behind the record 8.87 million the show scared up a week ago. CBS’ The Mentalist won the hour with 10.1 million viewers, while NBC put up 4.92 million viewers with 30 Rock and 4.15 million care of Outsourced. Legal beat ABC outright, as the broadcaster delivered just 3.44 million viewers with Private Practice.

The hour also saw the return of Archer on FX. The animated spy comedy drew 1.45 million viewers, marking a 51 percent improvement from its season one average (964,000). Viewers 18-49 grew 41 percent versus its 10-episode premiere average.

Not so funny or fizzy: A&E’s Beyond Scared Straight, a new intervention series designed to prevent troubled teens from getting swallowed up by the prison system. While numbers were not available for last night’s showing, the Jan. 20 episode attracted a whopping 3.48 million viewers.