'Jesus' makes Discovery ratings rise


All the national media attention given to Discovery Channel's "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" in the days leading up to its premiere paid off as an average of 4.1 million total viewers tuned in from 9-11 p.m. Sunday to watch the docu.

"Lost Tomb," from executive producer James Cameron and director Simcha Jacobovici, had been garnering attention because of its findings regarding new scientific evidence supporting the possible discovery of Jesus' family tomb. The premiere also drew 2.1 million adults 18-49 and 2.2 million adults 25-54.

Elsewhere in cable ratings news, several networks on Tuesday touted recent performances of various programs.

VH1 continues to score with its unscripted series "I Love New York," which drew 4.1 million viewers with an hourlong episode at 9 p.m. Monday. "I Love New York" is averaging a 2.1 in adults 18-49, making it the highest-rated original series on basic cable year-to-date in that demo, according to Nielsen Media Research.

At E! Entertainment Television, the third-season debut of unscripted series "The Girls Next Door" at 10 p.m. Sunday averaged more than 2 million viewers, the show's best-ever viewership figure and E!'s second-best season premiere ever behind the debut of "The Anna Nicole Smith Show" in 2002.

In the kids arena, Nickelodeon's premiere of its newest Nicktoon -- "El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera" -- from 10-11 p.m. Saturday earned the best premiere performance ever for a Saturday morning series on the network. The 10 a.m. debut drew 2.3 million kids 2-11 (3.3 million total viewers), while the 10:30 a.m. telecast averaged 2.3 million kids 2-11 (3.4 million total viewers).

Disney Channel continues to see success with its live-action series "Hannah Montana," "Cory in the House" and "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody." New episodes on Friday of "Hannah" (2.1 million kids 6-11), "Cory" (2 million) and "Suite Life" (1.9 million) ranked as TV's three most-watched telecasts (broadcast and basic cable) in kids 6-11 last week.

In other cable ratings news:

  TNT's Sunday telecast of "The Bourne Supremacy" ranked as basic cable's top movie for the week among adults 25-54 (2.3 million) and total viewers (4 million).

  The premiere of Hallmark Channel's original movie "Sacrifices of the Heart," starring Ken Howard and Melissa Gilbert, from 9-11 p.m. Saturday averaged 2.3 million viewers, helping the network to rank No. 6 among basic cable channels in primetime for the week ending March 4.

  At History Channel, the premiere telecast of the special presentation "The Dark Ages" from 9-11 p.m. Sunday set records for the year for the network in terms of total viewers (2.3 million) as well as adults 18-49 (949,000) and adults 25-54 (1.1 million).

  At ABC Family, the premiere of "The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning" from 8-10 p.m. Sunday became the network's most-watched original movie of all time among males 18-34 (305,000) and males 12-34 (476,000).