Parting sweet as cable trio's seasons wrap

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Lifetime's "Army Wives," MTV's "Making the Band 4" and HBO's "Big Love" all ended their seasons on a high note Sunday night.

The season finale of the drama series "Wives" averaged 4.1 million total viewers at 10 p.m. Sunday, marking its most-watched first-run telecast ever, according to Nielsen Media Research.

"Wives," an ensemble drama whose cast includes Catherine Bell and Kim Delaney, debuted June 3 with 3.7 million viewers, Lifetime's best series premiere in its 23-year history.

"Wives" also stands as Lifetime's most-watched original scripted drama series ever in total viewers — averaging 3.7 million during its first season — along with the key female demos of 18-34 (580,000), 18-49 (1.4 million) and 25-54 (1.4 million). It's also basic cable's No. 1 drama among women 18-34 and is the most-watched new basic cable drama this year among women 18-49 and women 25-54.

"It is incredibly gratifying when a critically acclaimed show is also a successful show, and we are grateful to the 4 million loyal viewers who tuned in every Sunday to make this series a huge hit for Lifetime," said Susanne Daniels, president of entertainment at Lifetime Networks.

Online, "Wives"-related traffic on LifetimeTV.com broke a record on Monday, rising 135% over the previous high, set the day after the show premiered.

"Wives" returns for its second season in the spring.

Meanwhile, "Big Love" averaged 2.9 million total viewers at 9 p.m. Sunday, making it the most-watched episode of the series' sophomore season.

The Season 1 finale of "Big Love" averaged 4.5 million viewers, though it should be noted that the show had "The Sopranos" as a lead-in at the time, while Sunday night's episode had a "Big Love" repeat as its lead-in.

The drama — starring Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin — recently was was renewed for a third season.

At MTV, the live finale of "Making the Band 4" averaged 3.5 million total viewers at 10 p.m., building significantly on its lead-in, a repeat of the reality competition show, which averaged 1.3 million total viewers.

The "Band" finale took a surprising twist in that music mogul Diddy decided to not only form a band but also sign one contestant to his Bad Boy label as a solo artist.

Elsewhere in cable ratings news, VH1's "Rock of Love With Bret Michaels" and "Scott Baio Is 45 … and Single" showed growth, with Sunday night's episodes posting the biggest rating in adults 18-49 so far. "Rock of Love" averaged a 1.6 rating in the demo at 9 p.m., while the first-season finale of "Scott Baio" at 10:30 p.m. averaged a 1.2 in the demo, up 19% over the week before.

In total viewers, "Rock of Love" averaged 2.2 million, while "Scott Baio" drew 1.6 million.

At 10 p.m., VH1's "Hogan Knows Best" averaged a 1.2 rating and 1.7 million total viewers.
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