History in the Money With ‘Pawn Stars’

On the heels of notching its best monthly ratings performance in 15 years, History showed no signs of slowing down as the calendar rolled over to March.

Per Nielsen live-plus-same day data, History delivered the most-watched program on ad-supported cable for the week ended March 7, as Pawn Stars delivered 5.34 million viewers Monday night at 10:30 p.m.

History’s most popular new series eked out a win against USA Network’s WWE Raw, which served up 5.32 million viewers Monday night between 9 p.m. and 11:07 p.m.

On the week, History finished with two of the top five deliveries on ad-supported cable. At 10 p.m. Monday, the night’s lead-off episode of Pawn Stars drew 4.93 million viewers.

Pawn Stars also won the three major TV demos, averaging 3.08 million viewers 18-49, 2.99 million adults 25-54 and 1.64 million viewers 18-34. The lead-in show also put up big numbers, as the 10 p.m. Pawn took second place among the two larger demos, delivering 2.68 million viewers 18-49 and 2.75 million adults 25-54.

In February, History averaged a record 1.44 million total prime time viewers, an increase of 17 percent year-over-year. The network finished fifth among the two target demos, drawing 758,000 adults 25-54 (up 24 percent from February 2009), and 674,000 viewers 18-49 (up 19 percent).

While History continued to draw a crowd, USA Network once again won the week, averaging 2.94 million total viewers, of which 1.26 million were members of the 25-54 demo. USA also took first among the 18-49 set, drawing 1.15 million, and claimed second with viewers 18-34 (508,000).  

Along with WWE Raw, USA’s biggest draws were NCIS and Burn Notice. The repurposed CBS drama delivered 4.8 million viewers Sunday at 7 p.m., and accounted for a half-dozen of the 20 most-watched programs on cable last week. Meanwhile, USA’s original drama wrapped its third season on March 4 in front of 4.23 million viewers, and while that was enough to win Thursday night, the delivery represented a 23 percent drop from Burn Notice’s March 5, 2009, season finale, which averaged 6.09 million viewers.

Fox News Channel claimed second place on the week, averaging 2.24 million viewers. FNC tied Discovery Channel for tenth among the 25-54 demo, drawing 543,000. The news net landed its biggest audience of the week on March 1, as The O’Reilly Factor delivered 4.02 million viewers in its 8 p.m. time slot.

Third place went to TNT and its 1.82 million viewers. The Turner net grabbed third with viewers 18-49 (876,000), and tied sibling TBS for third among adults 25-54 (894,000).

TBS took fourth (1.75 million), winning the 18-34 demo outright with an average draw of 674,000 viewers. TBS also won the 18-49 silver, delivering 1.11 million members of the demo.

History rounded out the top five with an average nightly audience of 1.74 million viewers. The network took second place among adults 25-54 (909,000) and finished fourth with the 18-49 set (818,000).

Among the core TV demo, last week’s top 10 ad-supported cable nets were: USA, averaging 1.15 million viewers 18-49; TBS (1.11 million); TNT (876,000); History (818,000); ESPN (678,000); A&E (669,000); FX (660,000); ABC Family (643,000); Comedy Central (559,000) and Discovery Channel (548,000).

Non-ad-supported Disney Channel boasted the week’s most-watched program on ad-supported cable, as 6.32 million viewers flocked to a new episode of Hannah Montana Sunday night. On the week, Disney finished second among all basic-cable nets, drawing 2.27 million total viewers.

The Mouse continued to dominate the kids and ‘tweens demos, averaging 953,000 kids 6-11, 1.23 million viewers 6-14 and 777,000 ‘tweens 9-14.