'Clone Wars' a force for Cartoon Network

Channel's most-watched premiere

The Force was strong for Cartoon Network as "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" became the channel's most-watched series premiere ever.

The CG-animated series, from Lucasfilm Animation, averaged 4 million total viewers in its debut at 9 p.m. Friday, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's 1 million more than the April 18 series premiere of "Ben 10: Alien Force," the previous record holder with 2.9 million total viewers.

Cartoon said it ranked as the No. 1 channel among all major kids networks in the time slot among total viewers as well as in the key youth demos of kids 2-11 (1.8 million), kids 6-11 (1.4 million) and tweens 9-14 (1.2 million, the largest in the demo for any premiere telecast of an original Cartoon series). It also posted triple-digit viewership increases compared with the same time period a year ago.

At 8 p.m. Friday, new series "The Secret Saturdays" averaged 2 million viewers. The two series kicked off Cartoon's new Friday night fantasy-action-adventure lineup.

"This is a great start for our fantasy-action-adventure series," said Stuart Snyder, president/COO of Turner Broadcasting's animation, young adults and kids media group. "I'm very pleased that fans and kids showed up to enjoy the two shows. There's nice momentum from our new strategy" of programming themed nights.

"Clone Wars" chronicles the adventures of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Ahsoka Tano and other "Star Wars" characters as they struggle against the dark side during the divisive, action-packed Clone Wars.

"Saturdays," an animated comedy-action series created by Jay Stephens, centers on a family of world-saving adventure scientists.