USA Posts Sharp Drops for White Collar, Psych

Since modifying its prime-time programming schedule in January, USA Network has won two of the three weekly ratings contests. And yet early results suggest that two of the network’s original series are not thriving in their new time slots.

Per Nielsen ratings data, USA’s White Collar delivered 2.89 million viewers in its Tuesday 10 p.m. slot (Feb. 2), down 39 percent from the 4.72 million viewers who tuned in for the show’s Jan. 19 mid-season premiere. Also trending downward is Psych, which drew 2.86 million total viewers on Feb. 3 in its new Wednesday 10 p.m. roost, a 35 percent drop from its Jan. 27 return (4.38 million).

Both series also endured significant demo dips. Last week’s episode of White Collar drew 1.25 million adults 25-54, down 38 percent from the 2.01 million members of the demo who tuned in for the mid-season premiere. Psych saw its demo decline by 31 percent, to 1.38 million adults 25-54. Much the same held true among viewers 18-49, as White Collar fell 38 percent and Psych slipped 27 percent.

Burn Notice also stumbled a bit, serving up 4.25 million viewers on Feb. 4., down 20 percent from the 5.35 million it delivered in its Jan. 21 return engagement. (Interestingly enough, in the first two weeks of the winter season, Burn was remarkably consistent. The Jan. 28 installment drew 5.3 million viewers, retaining 99 percent of the prior-week delivery.)

Burn’s demo deliveries were also more stable, as the latest episode averaged 2.26 million adults 25-54 and 2.27 million 18-49s, a decline of 13 percent and 10 percent, respectively, versus its Jan. 21 averages.

USA in January announced it was pulling out of Friday nights, moving White Collar and Psych to Wednesday and Thursday slots that previously had been reserved for the network’s NCIS repeats. The move coincided with the return of three of USA’s hit original shows and the series finale of long-time Friday night stalwart, Monk.

The shift was largely motivated by a desire to run the original series on nights that boast higher HUT levels.

One franchise that has not been affected by the moves is WWE Raw. The wrestling showcase remains the model of consistency in its Monday night slot, drawing 5.38 million total viewers from 9 p.m. to roughly 11:15 p.m. on Feb. 1.

For the week ended Feb. 7, USA averaged 2.93 million viewers, of which 1.27 million were adults 25-54 and 1.2 million were members of the 18-49 camp.

Fox News Channel took second place on the week, averaging 2.43 million viewers in prime, a draw that includes 581,000 adults 25-54. TNT claimed third place with 1.95 million viewers, notching its best demo delivery with adults 25-54 (897,000). TBS took fourth place (1.65 million), while winning the 18-34 demo outright, while Nick at Nite rounded out the top five with 1.64 million total viewers.

Last week’s top 10 ad-supported cable nets among the core TV demo were: USA, averaging 1.2 million viewers 18-49; TBS (966,000); TNT (790,000); A&E (748,000); ESPN (672,000); History (630,000); Comedy Central (592,000); ABC Family (588,000); Discovery Channel (573,000) and truTV (545,000).

Non-ad-supported Disney Channel held onto third place among all basic-cable nets, averaging 2.04 million viewers. The Mouse continued to dominate the kiddie demos, drawing 846,000 viewers 6-11, 1.1 million viewers 6-14 and 711,000 ‘tweens 9-14.

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