USA grabs the rebound

Net takes week in cable ratings as NBA departs

With the NBA having decamped from cable to ABC for its championship series, USA Network assumed its customary spot at the top of the ratings heap last week, averaging 3.2 million viewers.

For the week ended June 7, USA also regained the lead among the top three demos, averaging 1.5 million adults 25-54, 1.4 million viewers 18-49 and 579,000 18-34s.

USA's resurgence was powered by its original drama series "Burn Notice," which returned Thursday night for its third season, drawing 6 million viewers, according to Nielsen Live+SD ratings data. Lead-out "Royal Pains" retained 93% of the 9 p.m. audience, serving up 5.6 million viewers in its series premiere.

Also giving USA a lift was the two-hour "WWE Raw," which scared up 4.8 million viewers Monday between 9-11:09 p.m. An "NCIS" repeat also drew a crowd, averaging 4 million viewers at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Fox News Channel returned to second place in primetime among all ad-supported cable nets, averaging 2.2 million viewers, 526,000 of which were members of the core news demo. FNC notched its biggest deliveries with its 8 p.m. franchise, "The O'Reilly Factor," which averaged 3.7 million viewers Monday and 3.6 million Thursday.

Moving up from the No. 8 spot, TBS landed in third place last week, averaging 1.7 million viewers. The Turner net claimed the silver among the major demos, delivering 1 million 18-49s, 908,000 adults 25-54 and 536,000 viewers 18-49.

TBS enjoyed its most significant deliveries of the week with its Wednesday night Tyler Perry block. The 10 p.m. installment of "Meet the Browns" drew 3.5 million viewers, 99% of which stayed tuned for the 10:30 episode. Earlier in the evening, "House of Payne" averaged 3.1 million viewers in the 9:30 p.m. slot.

After enjoying a five-week stint at the top -- a run that coincided with record turnout for its NBA playoffs coverage -- TNT slipped to fourth place, averaging 1.6 million viewers. While basketball won't return to TNT until the fall, the network still boasts high-profile sporting events like NASCAR. The Sunday afternoon Sprint Cup series at Pocono Raceway delivered 5.5 million viewers from 2-6:02 p.m., good for fourth place on the week.

A brief post-race wrap retained 98% of the Nascar audience.

Fifth place for the week went to Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, which drew 1.6 million viewers in prime.

Meanwhile, TLC's "Jon & Kate Plus 8" continued to make waves on Monday night as a double shot of the unscripted series drew 6 million viewers in the 9:30 p.m. slot and 5.5 million in the lead-in. While those deliveries were well short of the astonishing 9.8 million who tuned in for the Memorial Day opener, both half-hours easily topped "Jon & Kate's" previous high-water mark of 4.6 million on May 23.

The "Jon & Kate" hour also swept the demos, averaging 3.3 million viewers 18-49, 2.9 million adults 25-54 and 2 million 18-34s.

Among the 18-49 set, Discovery Channel ruled the roost Tuesday, as its rough-and-tumble man-vs.-the elements block proved a huge draw among the core TV demo. The June 2 installment of "Man vs. Wild" delivered 2.9 million adults 18-49, trailing only the Gosselin clan. The 9 p.m. lead-in, "Deadliest Catch," also finished in the Top 10, averaging 2.3 million members of the demo.

Discovery finished the week third among adults 18-49, averaging 815,000 viewers. FX (755,000) and TNT (717,000) closed out the top five.

Also grabbing their fair share of the TV demo were "Burn Notice," which averaged 2.5 million 18-49s, TNT's NASCAR coverage (2.4 million), "WWE Raw" (2.4 million) and "Royal Pains" (2.3 million).

Among the whole of the basic cable universe, Discovery Channel took second place on the week, squeaking past Fox News Channel with 2.2 million viewers in primetime. The non-ad-supported net fared particularly well Sunday, as a new episode of "Hannah Montana" drew 4.2 million viewers in the 7:30 p.m. slot, leading into "Sonny With a Chance," which retained 96% of that audience.
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