Viewers hold onto ‘Grace’

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TNT’s “Saving Grace” ended its first season Monday night with 4.2 million tuning in to the freshman drama’s season finale.

Overall, the series, starring Holly Hunter as an Oklahoma City police detective who gets some much-needed help from an angel, averaged 5.3 million viewers for its first season, according to Nielsen Media Research. “Grace,” airing at 10 p.m. Mondays, debuted July 23 to 6.9 million viewers, making it the most-watched series premiere on ad-supported cable of the year.

“Grace” managed to stand on its own Monday without the benefit of lead-in “The Closer” for the first time, though the finale does rank as the series’ least-watched episode.

However, “Grace” did build on its lead-in, an installment of acquired series “Law & Order,” which drew 3.8 million at 9 p.m. That’s an 11% improvement for “Grace” over “L&O.”

“Closer” ended its third season last week with 9.2 million total viewers tuning in at 9 p.m. Sept. 10.

In the key adult demos, the “Grace” finale pulled in 1.3 million viewers in 18-49 and 1.9 million in 25-54. For the entire season, the show averaged 1.7 million in 18-49 and 2.2 million in 25-54.

Elsewhere, ESPN earned some of its best numbers of the year with the “Monday Night Football” matchup featuring the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles. The game, which Washington won 20-12, averaged 11.6 million total viewers and a 9.1 rating, the latter of which topped primetime for the night among all networks, broadcast or cable.

In addition, ESPN said that NFL content on ESPN.com generated more than 53 million page views from Monday through Tuesday at noon, a 25% increase over the same period last year, according to Web measurement tool HitBox.
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