USA returns atop cable with 'Burn,' 'Royal'

Net's 'In Plain Sight' drew 3.5 mil viewers in Wednesday slot

The return of USA Network's original drama series "Burn Notice" and "Royal Pains" helped return the NBC Universal powerhouse to the top of the cable-ratings heap, giving it the first sweep of the core demographics since the beginning of April.

According to Nielsen Live+SD ratings for the week ending Sunday, USA delivered an average primetime audience of 3.5 million viewers, of which 1.3 million were members of the adults 18-49 demo. USA also beat all comers among adults 25-54 (1.46 million) and viewers 18-34 (576,000).

The Season 4 premiere of "Burn" scared up 6.6 million viewers Thursday, a tally that included 2.9 million adults 25-54 and 2.6 million viewers 18-49. At 10 p.m., "Pains" began its sophomore run in front of 5.8 million viewers, notching a retention rate of 88% from the previous hour.

"Pains" also made a strong showing among the demos, averaging 2.6 million adults 25-54 and 2.4 million viewers 18-49.

"In Plain Sight," the third original series on USA's spring schedule, drew 3.5 million viewers in its 10 p.m. Wednesday slot. Also drawing a crowd was USA's Monday night wrestling showcase, "WWE Raw," and its slate of "NCIS" repeats.

In second place for the week was Fox News Channel, which edged Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite by about 4,000 viewers. The news network averaged 1.9 million total viewers in primetime, of which 467,000 were members of the core news demo.

Nick/Nick at Night boasted the week's most-watched program on ad-supported cable, as the one-hour "iCarly" movie "iPsycho" drew 7.5 million viewers at 8 p.m. Friday. Lead-out "Victorious" enjoyed its biggest night, retaining 79% of the iCarly crowd (6 million viewers). At 9:30 p.m., "Big Time Rush" served up 4.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched episode since the series debuted in January.

The lineup also put up stellar demo numbers, as "iPsycho" drew 4.1 million kids 2-11, 3.2 million kids 6-11 and 2.8 million tweens 9-14. "Victorious" averaged 3.3 million in 2-11, 2.6 million in 6-11 and 2.2 million tweens.

Now that the NBA playoffs have advanced to the finals (and ABC), TNT dropped significantly, averaging 1.8 million viewers. The Turner network closed the week second among adults 25-54 (850,000) and third among the 18-49 set (772,000).

TNT drew its biggest crowd of the week with its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the year, averaging 5.1 million viewers Sunday afternoon, down 8% compared with the year-ago 5.5 million total viewers. Coverage of the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 delivered 2.5 million adults 25-54 and 2 million 18-49s.

Closing out the top five was A&E, which averaged 1.6 million viewers in primetime, more than half of which (762,000) were members of the 25-54 set.

Among the week's biggest draws was the MTV Movie Awards, which captured 4.6 million viewers Sunday night, down 13% compared with last year's 5.3 million viewers. Hosted by Aziz Ansari, the show was the top draw among viewers 18-34 (2.2 million) and 18-49 3 million). Demos were down 20% and 19%, respectively.

For the week, the top 10 outlets serving the core TV demo were USA, which averaged 1.3 million adults 18-49; TBS (899,000); TNT (772,000); MTV (704,000); A&E (696,000); FX (661,000); ABC Family (658,000); TLC (643,000); Food Network (596,000); and Discovery Channel (595,000).
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