April Showers Bring USA Ratings Power

Fresh off a decisive first-quarter ratings victory, USA Network showed no signs of letting up in the first week of April, outdistancing its nearest ad-supported cable rival by some 1.18 million viewers.

For the week ended April 4, USA averaged 3.14 million viewers in prime time, besting second place Fox News Channel’s delivery of 1.96 million viewers. USA also swept the three core TV demos, averaging 1.37 million adults 25-54, 1.27 million viewers 18-49 and 553,000 viewers 18-34.

The latter demo marked USA’s closest race for the week, as TBS came within 14,000 viewers of taking the 18-34 title.

All told, USA played host to six of the 10 most-watched programs on ad-supported cable, earning its best number with Monday night’s WWE Raw. The wrestling showcase drew 5.5 million total viewers between 9 p.m. and 11:13 p.m., of which 2.83 million were members of the 18-49 demo.

In addition to the three episodes of NCIS that scared up 4.5 million viewers or more, USA scored with the season three premiere of In Plain Sight, as the Mary McCormack vehicle drew 3.82 million viewers in its Wednesday 10 p.m. time slot.

History accounted for three of the week’s most-viewed programs in prime, including a new installment of Pawn Stars (4.99 million viewers), which on Monday night led out of a two-episode block of American Pickers. The 9:30 p.m. Pickers drew 4.53 million viewers, improving on its lead-in by 20 percent.

ESPN’s coverage of the Women’s Final Four meeting between Baylor and UConn rounded out the top 10, drawing 3.77 million viewers Sunday night between 9:37 p.m. and 11:43 p.m. In accordance with its agreement with the NCAA, Bristol slotted the semifinal on the flagship network; as such, the MLB season opener was relegated to ESPN2. While the Yankees-Red Sox grudge match was blacked out in the New York and Boston DMAs, the return of baseball still drew a respectable audience, as some 3.23 million fans tuned in Sunday night.

Fox News Channel held onto second place last week, drawing 1.96 million viewers in prime. Nearly one-quarter (487,000) of these viewers were members of the core news demo.

Nick at Nite edged out TBS for a third-place berth, averaging 1.67 million viewers to the Turner net’s 1.65 million. History also drew within shooting distance, with a nightly turnout of 1.63 million viewers.

Among the core TV demo, last week’s top 10 ad-supported cable nets were: USA, averaging 1.27 million viewers 18-49; TBS (991,000); History (717,000); TNT (697,000); FX (630,000); Discovery Channel (628,000); ESPN (599,000); A&E (593,000); Comedy Central (581,000) and Food Network (539,000).
 
Non-ad-supported Disney Channel closed out the week second among all basic-cable nets, drawing 2.44 million prime-time viewers. The Mouse drew a crowd with the series premiere of Good Luck Charlie, serving up 4.69 million viewers Sunday at 8:30 p.m. Per Nielsen, some 2 million kids 6-11 and another 2 million ‘tweens 9-14 tuned in for the GLC debut.

Disney enjoyed another stellar week among its target demos, averaging 975,000 kids 6-11, 1.27 million viewers 6-14 and 783,000 ‘tweens 9-14. Disney also outpaced its rivals for supremacy among the younger set, delivering 1.29 million kids 2-11.