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More than 3.2 million total viewers tuned in to Discovery Channel and Animal Planet on Sunday night to watch the late Steve Irwin’s last documentary.
“Ocean’s Deadliest,” which aired from 8-9:30 p.m. on both networks, averaged more than 1.5 million total viewers on Animal Planet, improving on the network’s January 2006 primetime average by 157%. At Discovery, more than 1.7 million viewers tuned in to the docu, which Irwin was shooting when he was stung by stingray and died in September.
The docu was followed by a half-hour tribute to Irwin’s life at 9:30 p.m. titled “Crikey! What an Adventure!” which drew more than 1.2 million viewers on Discovery and 1.5 million on Animal Planet.
In other cable ratings, Sci Fi Channel debuted new series “The Dresden Files” on Sunday night as well as the midseason premiere of “Battlestar Galactica,” which has relocated from Fridays. “Dresden Files” averaged 1.7 million viewers at 9 p.m., which was off when compared with recent Sci Fi series debuts like “Eureka” in July, which garnered 4.2 million viewers, setting network records.
Meanwhile, “Battlestar” averaged 1.8 million at 10 p.m., marking the network’s best performance at 10 p.m. Sunday since June 2003 (“Terminator 2: Judgment Day”) and building on the Dec. 15 midseason finale, which drew 1.7 million viewers.
It should be noted that Sunday night’s programs faced huge broadcast network competition in the form of CBS’ telecast of the AFC championship game, which drew 46.7 million viewers, making it TV’s most-watched program since last year’s Super Bowl postgame programming. The game ran from roughly 6:30-10:30 p.m. EST.
Meanwhile, ABC Family continues to see solid returns on its original movies, with “Lovewrecked,” starring Amanda Bynes and Chris Carmack, averaging 2.5 million total viewers from 8-10 p.m. Sunday. That figure was up 169% compared with year-ago time-period levels (938,000).
Boosted by the movie’s premiere as well as an encore airing, ABC Family was Sunday’s third-most-watched basic cable network in primetime in total viewers (2 million) and came in tops in such demos as adults 18-49 (948,000) and adults 12-34 (984,000).
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