USA Continues Weekly Ratings Run

Michael Jackson was all over the dial last week, but in prime time it was business as usual, as USA Network beat all comers with an average delivery of 3.21 million viewers.

Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data, USA swept the three major demos in the week ended July 12, averaging 1.45 million adults 25-54, 1.26 million viewers 18-49 and 526,000 viewers 18-34. After having sidelined its hit series Burn Notice and Royal Pains in light of the holiday weekend, USA on July 9 aired new episodes of both strips, drawing 5.73 million viewers with the 10 p.m. Pains and 5.51 million viewers with the lead-in.

The network also drew big numbers on Monday, July 6, as its WWE Raw showcase drew 5.15 million viewers between 9 p.m. and 11:06 p.m. Hour two of the wrestling program drew 5.4 million viewers.

After taking the opening week of Q3 ‘09, TNT returned to second place with 2.31 million prime-time viewers and 1.07 million adults 25-54. The Turner net also landed in fourth place among adults 18-49, averaging 862,000 members of the demo. ABC Family squeaked past TNT to grab third in the demo by a margin of 3,000 viewers.

TNT’s The Closer once again was the most-watched program on ad-supported cable, averaging 6.05 million viewers in its Monday 9 p.m. time slot. The Turner net also got a lift from its sixth (and final) Nascar race of the season, serving up 4.81 million viewers on July 11 with its telecast of the Spring Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. The race drew the week’s largest audience of adults 25-54, averaging 2.58 million.

Third place on the week went to Fox News Channel, which averaged 2.11 million viewers in prime, of which 546,000 were members of the core news demo. While FNC rival CNN boasted four of the week’s most-watched programming segments with its July 7 coverage of Michael Jackson’s memorial service––the 3 p.m.-3:48 p.m. portion of the event alone drew 5.72 million viewers––Fox News managed to outpace CNN in total day. Per Nielsen, FNC averaged 1.19 million viewers to CNN’s 900,000, and closed out the week with a slight advantage (17,000 viewers) in the 25-54 demo.

The O’Reilly Factor last week continued to account for FNC’s largest deliveries, as the Monday night installment of the show averaged 3.61 million viewers. Thursday night’s Factor drew 3.47 million viewers at 8 p.m., while the Tuesday night show served up 3.44 million viewers.

The week’s most dramatic surge was authored by ABC Family, which claimed fourth place in prime with an average delivery of 1.82 million viewers, up 54 percent from the prior week’s 1.17 million viewers (11th place). ABC Family also went on a tear among the major demos, taking third among 18-49 with 865,000 viewers (as previously noted), while laying claim to fourth place among 18-34s (451,000) and sixth among adults 25-54 (760,000).

The 18-34 demo was particularly contentious last week, as second-place TBS averaged 453,000, followed by FX with 452,000, and ABC Family.

ABC Family got a boost with its Sunday night screening of the 2005 theatrical Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which drew 4.09 million viewers from 7:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Viewers also turned out for a new episode of The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which drew 2.85 million viewers Monday at 8 p.m., and the third installment of the Hogwarts saga, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which drew 2.8 million viewers Sunday from 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

Closing out the top five last week was the re-christened Sci Fi Channel, which averaged 1.7 million viewers in its first week under the new SyFy banner. The NBC Universal net did its best demo delivery with the 25-54 set, averaging 879,000 viewers, while taking sixth among viewers 18-49 with 770,000.