History's 'Pawn Stars' tops cable shows

USA Network wins week, averaging 2.9 million viewers

On the heels of notching its best monthly ratings performance in 15 years, History showed no signs of slowing down as the calendar rolled over to March.

According to Nielsen Live+SD data, History had the most-watched program on ad-supported cable for the week ending March 7 as "Pawn Stars" delivered 5.34 million viewers at 10:30 p.m. Monday.

History's most popular current series eked out the win over USA Network's "WWE Raw," which served up 5.32 million viewers between 9-11:07 p.m. Monday.

For the week, History finished with two of the top five deliveries on ad-supported cable. At 10 p.m. Monday, the night's lead-off episode of "Pawn Stars" drew 4.93 million viewers.

"Pawn Stars" also won the three major TV demos, averaging 3.1 million viewers 18-49, 3 million adults 25-54 and 1.6 million viewers 18-34. The lead-in also put up big numbers as the 10 p.m. "Pawn" took second place among the two largest demos, delivering 2.7 million viewers 18-49 and 2.8 million adults 25-54.

In February, History averaged a record 1.4 million total primetime viewers, a 17% increase of year-over-year. The network finished fifth among the two target demos, drawing 758,000 adults 25-54 (up 24% from February 2009), and 674,000 viewers 18-49 (up 19%).

While History continued to draw a crowd, USA again won the week, averaging 2.9 million total viewers, of which 1.3 million were 25-54. USA also took first among the 18-49 set, drawing 1.2 million, and claimed second with viewers 18-34 (508,000).

Along with "Raw," USA's biggest draws were repurposed CBS drama "NCIS" and "Burn Notice." "NCIS" delivered 4.8 million viewers at 7 p.m. Sunday and accounted for a half-dozen of the 20 most-watched programs on cable last week. Meanwhile, USA's original drama wrapped its third season March 4 in front of 4.2 million viewers, and while that was enough to win Thursday night, the delivery represented a 23% drop from "Burn's" 2009 season finale, which averaged 6.1 million viewers.

Fox News Channel claimed second place on the week, averaging 2.2 million viewers. FNC tied Discovery Channel for 10th among the 25-54 demo, drawing 543,000. The news net landed its biggest audience of the week March 1 as "The O'Reilly Factor" delivered 4 million viewers in its 8 p.m. slot.

Third place went to TNT and its 1.8 million viewers. The Turner net grabbed third with viewers 18-49 (876,000) and tied sibling TBS for third among adults 25-54 (894,000).

TBS took fourth (1.8 million), winning the 18-34 demo outright with an average draw of 674,000 viewers. TBS also won the 18-49 silver, delivering 1.1 million members of the demo.

History rounded out the top five with an average nightly audience of 1.7 million. The network took second place among adults 25-54 (909,000) and finished fourth with the 18-49 set (818,000).

Among the core TV demo, last week's top 10 ad-supported cable nets were USA, averaging 1.2 million viewers 18-49; TBS (1.1 million); TNT (876,000); History (818,000); ESPN (678,000); A&E (669,000); FX (660,000); ABC Family (643,000); Comedy Central (559,000); and Discovery Channel (548,000).

Disney Channel continued to dominate the kids and tweens demos, averaging 953,000 kids 6-11, 1.2 million viewers 6-14 and 777,000 tweens 9-14.