USA, TNT Enjoy a Firecracker Fourth

Hot on the heels of notching another quarterly ratings win, USA Network dominated the holiday week, drawing 2.89 million total viewers in prime time.
While some networks shied away from airing new episodes of their franchise series in such close proximity to Independence Day, USA kept stoking the coals with Royal Pains and Burn Notice. Per Nielsen, the former drew 5.32 million viewers on July 1, improving on its 9 p.m. Burn Notice lead-in by 2 percent. In fact, despite the encroaching holiday, Pain actually improved slightly (1 percent) on its prior-week delivery.
As has been the case for much of this season, Pains edged Burn Notice in both core demos, drawing 2.06 million adults 18-49 to Burn’s 2.02 million, and delivering 2.43 million adults 25-54, topping the lead-in by 80,000 viewers.
All told, for the week ended July 4 USA boasted four of the week’s top 10 most-watched programs on ad-supported cable. WWE Raw scared up 4.54 million total viewers on Monday night (9-11:05 p.m.), while a Wednesday night NCIS rerun served up 4.05 million viewers.
Also drawing fire was the season three finale of USA’s In Plain Sight, which drew 3.85 million viewers June 30 at 10 p.m., slightly shy of its season-high delivery of 4.14 million viewers two weeks earlier.
On the week, USA claimed victory over the two major TV demos, averaging 1.02 million viewers 18-49 and 1.16 million adults 25-54.
Fueled by the July 3 Nascar Sprint Cup Series race in Daytona, TNT held onto second place on the week, averaging 2.25 million viewers in prime, of whom 998,000 were adults 25-54 and 826,000 were members of the 18-49 demo.
The Coke Zero 400 at Daytona was the most-watched program on ad-supported cable last week, serving up 6.13 million viewers Saturday night (9:08 p.m.-12:53 a.m.), an improvement of 12 percent from last year’s 5.47 million viewers.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. raced to his first Nascar victory since 2007, driving the iconic No. 3 car in observance of his late father’s induction into the sport’s Hall of Fame, and the sentimental gesture may have helped stir the demos. TNT’s Daytona coverage drew 3.27 million adults 25-54, up 22 percent from the year-ago delivery (2.69 million), while scaring up 2.53 million viewers 18-49, which also marked a 22 percent gain.
Episode two of TNT’s newest original drama, Memphis Beat, retained the lion’s share of its premiere deliveries, drawing 4 million viewers on Tuesday, June 29. That number represents an 8 percent dip from the opening week’s 4.33 million, outpacing the standard 15-20 percent drop most series see between a debut and a sophomore installment. The target demo delivery also fell within the range of standard deviation, as last Tuesday’s episode averaged 1.55 million adults 25-54, down 11 percent from 1.75 million. Younger viewers churned at a somewhat greater clip, as viewers 18-49 were down 14 percent to 1.24 million.
Fox News Channel remained a fixture in third place, drawing an average nightly audience of 1.75 million viewers. Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data, FNC delivered 428,000 adults 25-54 on the week.
AMC vaulted into the No. 4 spot with an average delivery of 1.61 million viewers, of whom 32 percent were members of the 25-54 demo (510,000). History closed out the top five with 1.43 million viewers, taking fourth among the 25-54 set (694,000) and finishing sixth with viewers 18-49 (629,000).
History’s unscripted series Pawn Stars and American Pickers continued to hold dominion over cable’s Monday night lineup, as the former averaged 5.44 million viewers at 10:30 p.m., growing from a base of 5.1 million viewers in the earlier half-hour period. American Pickers led off the night with 4.08 million viewers in its 9-10 p.m. slot.