'Riches' draws interest on FX

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FX's newest original series, "The Riches," got off to a good start Monday night.

Meanwhile, FX sister network MyNetworkTV saw a ratings bump with the debut of its "IFL Battleground" series.

"Riches," a drama starring Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver, averaged 3.8 million total viewers and 2.5 million adults 18-49 in its debut at 10 p.m., according to Nielsen Media Research. Those figures put it just ahead of FX's previous series premiere, "Dirt," at 10 p.m. on Jan. 2 (3.7 million total viewers, 2.4 million in 18-49). An encore episode of "Riches" at 11:10 p.m. delivered 1.4 million total viewers and nearly 800,000 in the demo.

"Riches" also performed slightly better than the series premiere of FX's "Nip/Tuck" in July 2003 (3.7 million) but was off when compared with the series debuts of "The Shield" (4.8 million in March 2002), "Rescue Me" (4.1 million in July 2004) and the network's short-lived "Over There" (4.1 million in July 2005). However, FX pointed out that the debut of "Riches" marked the first time that the network has launched a show on a Monday night and that the episode more than doubled FX's previous best delivery in the Monday 10-11 p.m. hour in total viewers and 18-49.

In adults 18-49, "Riches' " performance ranks as the network's second-best series premiere, behind "Shield" (3 million). It also came in as No. 1 in the demo among all basic cable entertainment programs in primetime Monday.

"Riches" also built on its lead-in, FX's premiere of theatrical "The Day After Tomorrow," which averaged 3.1 million total viewers and 1.7 million 18-49 from 7:30-10 p.m.

FX is planning to run the series debut again at 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 p.m. Sunday.

This week marks the first full week of MyNet's new schedule, which relies less on scripted novelas and incorporates two movie nights plus the unscripted "IFL" series, which debuted at 8-10 p.m. Monday with an average of 1.1 total viewers and a 0.8 household rating. Those figures mark a significant increase from the network's small base, rising 61% in total viewers compared with the February sweep average for the dramas on Monday nights and jumping 60% in the household rating.

In the key adult demos of 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54, the mixed martial arts show saw a 150% increase over the drama strips' Monday night average last month (0.5 vs. 0.2).

The most dramatic gains came in the male demographics -- which is to be expected given the format switch on Monday nights -- rising 250% from a 0.2 average to a 0.7 in men 18-34 (a network high), 18-49 and 25-54.
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