'Star Wars,' 'Battlestar' lead cable ratings

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It was quite a weekend for sci-fi fans as Spike TV aired three movies in the "Star Wars" saga and "Battlestar Galactica" returned with a new episode on Sci Fi Channel.

"Galactica," which had its fourth and final season premiere at 10 p.m. Friday, drew 2.1 million viewers, a 19% increase over the series' so-called "Season 3.5" premiere in January 2007, according to Nielsen Media Research.

It also was up in the key adult demos of 25-54 (up 19% to 1.5 million, the series' best performance in that demo since the Season 3 premiere in October 2006) and 18-49 (up 11% to 1.4 million, its best showing since January 2006).

In addition, the season premiere also drew its biggest female audience, with 606,000 women 18-49 tuning in, making it Friday's No. 4-ranked cable program in primetime among that demo.

Meanwhile, Spike TV aired the first three "episodes" of the "Star Wars" saga during the weekend. Tops among the trio was "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," which averaged 4.2 million viewers from 8-11 p.m. Sunday. That made it the highest-rated movie in network history and the highest-rated movie of the year among ad-supported cable networks in adults 18-49 (2.1 rating, 2.4 million viewers) and men 18-49 (2.7, 1.5 million).

Meanwhile, "Star Wars: Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace" drew 2.8 million viewers from 8-11 p.m. Friday, and "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" averaged 3.3 million from 8-11 p.m. Saturday.

Spike also touted the fact that the three "Star Wars" movies averaged 3.5 million viewers overall, beating head-to-head competition with TNT's airings of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, which averaged 2.7 million viewers.

The remaining three "Star Wars" movies air on Spike this weekend.
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