First-run 'Intent' big for USA

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"Law & Order: Criminal Intent" came out strong in its first-run premiere on USA Network.

"CI," which made the move to USA this year after airing on NBC for six seasons, averaged 3.8 million total viewers at 10 p.m. Thursday, according to Nielsen Media Research.

USA also has off-net rights to the procedural drama, and Thursday night's fresh installment was a big improvement over the performance of "CI" reruns on the network. Last year, when USA was airing "CI" reruns on Thursdays, the show averaged 1.8 million viewers. This year, reruns have been averaging 2.4 million on weekends.

It's also off only slightly compared with the premiere of "Burn Notice," USA's hit freshman drama series that had been airing at 10 p.m. Thursdays. "Burn" debuted in June with 3.98 million total viewers.

Among the key adult demos, Thursday night's episode of "CI" averaged 1.7 million viewers in 18-49, an improvement of 98% compared with the same time period a year ago and up 70% compared with the same slot last week.

In the adults 25-54 demo, the telecast bought in 1.9 million viewers, up 132% compared with a year ago and up 77% vs. last week. USA said the show's 25-54 number represents the most-watched entertainment telecast for a cable network in Thursday primetime against the broadcast networks for at least the past two seasons, according to available data.

In both demos and total viewers, "CI" was the most-watched entertainment telecast on cable for the day.
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