USA Regains Ratings Lead With B-ball on Broadcast

With the NBA having decamped to ABC for the final series of the 2008-09 season, USA Network assumed its customary spot at the top of the ratings heap last week, averaging 3.22 million viewers.
For the week ended June 7, USA also regained the lead among the top three demos, averaging 1.49 million adults 25-54, 1.36 million viewers 18-49 and 579,000 18-34s.
USA’s resurgence was powered by its original drama series Burn Notice, which returned Thursday night for its third season, drawing 5.99 million viewers, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data. Lead-out Royal Pains retained 93 percent of the 9 p.m. audience, serving up 5.57 million viewers in its series premiere.
Also giving USA a lift was the two-hour WWE Raw, which scared up 4.79 million viewers Monday night between 9 p.m. and 11:09 p.m. An NCIS repeat also drew a crowd, averaging 4.04 million viewers Wednesday night at 8 p.m.
Fox News Channel returned to second place in prime among all ad-supported cable nets, averaging 2.16 million viewers, 526,000 of which were members of the core news demo. FNC notched its biggest deliveries with its 8 p.m. franchise, The O’Reilly Factor, which averaged 3.65 million viewers Monday night and 3.63 million viewers Thursday.
Moving up all the way from the eight-spot, TBS landed in third place last week, averaging 1.71 million viewers. The Turner net claimed the silver among the major demos, delivering 1.01 million 18-49s, 908,000 adults 25-54 and 536,000 viewers 18-49.
TBS enjoyed its most significant deliveries of the week with its Wednesday night Tyler Perry block. The 10 p.m. installment of Meet the Browns drew 3.52 million viewers, 99 percent of which (3.48 million) stayed tuned for the 10:30 episode. Earlier in the evening, House of Payne averaged 3.11 million viewers in the 9:30 p.m. time slot.

After enjoying a five-week stint at the top––a run that coincided with record turnout for its NBA Playoffs coverage––TNT slipped to fourth place, averaging 1.62 million viewers. While basketball won’t return to TNT until this fall, the network still boasts high-profile sporting events like Nascar. The Sunday afternoon Sprint Cup series at Pocono Raceway delivered 5.48 million viewers between 2 p.m. and 6:02 p.m., good for fourth place on the week.
A brief post-race wrap retained 98 percent of the Nascar audience (5.35 million viewers).
Fifth place on the week went to Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, which drew 1.6 million viewers in prime.
Meanwhile, TLC’s Jon & Kate Plus 8 continued to make waves on Monday night, as a double-shot of the unscripted series drew 5.95 million viewers in the 9:30 p.m. slot and 5.47 million in the lead-in. While those deliveries were well short of the astonishing 9.8 million who tuned in for the Memorial Day opener, both half-hours easily topped Jon & Kate’s previous high-water mark of 4.6 million (May 23, 2009).
The Jon & Kate hour also swept the demos, averaging 3.34 million viewers 18-49, 2.86 million adults 25-54 and 2.04 million 18-34s.
Among the 18-49 set, Discovery Channel ruled the roost on Tuesday night, as its rough-and-tumble man-versus-the elements block proved a huge draw among the core TV demo. The June 2 installment of Man Vs. Wild delivered 2.85 million adults 18-49, trailing only the Gosselin clan. The 9 p.m. lead-in, Deadliest Catch, also finished in the top 10, averaging 2.32 million members of the demo.
Discovery finished the week third among adults 18-49, averaging 815,000 viewers. FX (755,000) and TNT (717,000) closed out the top five.
Also grabbing their fair share of the TV demo were: Burn Notice, which averaged 2.53 million 18-49s; TNT’s Nascar coverage (2.38 million); WWE Raw (2.36 million) and Royal Pains (2.3 million).
Among the whole of the basic-cable universe, Discovery Channel took second place on the week, squeaking past Fox News Channel with 2.18 million viewers in prime. The non-ad-supported net fared particularly well on Sunday night, as a new episode of Hannah Montana scared up 4.18 million viewers in the 7:30 p.m. time slot, leading into Sonny with a Chance, which retained 96 percent of that audience (4.02 million).
In the 8:30 p.m. slot, JONAS retained 91 percent of its Sonny lead-in, as a new episode of the comedy averaged 3.65 million viewers.