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JAN
21
4 YEARS

'Fairly Legal' Has Decent Debut, 'Royal Pains' Returns for First Winter Run

Fairly Legal
Alan Zenuk/USA Network
"Fairly Legal"

USA's latest new series Fairly Legal with Sarah Shahi launched last night.

Luring in 3.9 million viewers for its Thursday debut, Legal was below the network's averages for a series premiere, though none of its original scripted shows have ever launched in mid-January. In that sense, Legal was the guinea pig.

Expectations were kept in check for Legal's premiere, considering the wealth of television available to viewers (and MTV's record-setting telecast of Jersey Shore) on Thursdays, and USA noted that its numbers were well within range.

(For added context but not direct comparisons, White Collar, which debuted in October 2009, drew in 5.3 million; In Plain Sight premiered June 2008 with 5.3 million; and Covert Affairs snagged 4.9 million for its July launch. Affairs did see a ratings uptick.)

Nearly a third of Legal's viewership belonged in the key 18-49 demo, with 1.4 million viewers. In the 18-34 category, roughy 506,000 belonged in the demographic, while 1.58 million fell in the 25-54 bracket.

The winter premiere of Royal Pains snagged 4.4 million viewers at 9 p.m. and offered Legal a healthy lead-in, though it was down significantly -- though expected -- compared to its Season 2 summer opener (5.8 million). This is the first time USA is airing Pains throughout the winter and the first time the dramedy is being used as a launching pad for a new series, instead of following the veteran spy drama Burn Notice.

Like Legal, roughly a third of Pain's viewers (1.5 million) belonged in the adult demo.