'Monk' finale sets cable ratings record

9.4 million viewers tune in to USA dramedy's last episode

"Monk" ended its eight-season run with a bang, becoming the most-watched hourlong series on basic cable.

The Friday series finale of the USA Network dramedy drew about 9.4 million viewers, 3.2 million of them in the adults 18-49 demographic.

It is the largest audience and demo turnout to date, not only for the show and for a USA scripted series but also for a drama series on basic cable, eclipsing the 9.2 million mark for TNT's "The Closer." ("Monk's" final tally is expected to grow further once Live+7 numbers are factored in).

It is a fitting farewell for a series that defined USA's brand of quirky dramedies and kicked off the network's ascension to cable-ratings supremacy.

The second part of "Monk's" two-part closer, which saw Tony Shalhoub's OCD-plagued detective solve the biggest case of his career -- his wife's murder -- beat the series' previous high in total viewers by 37%.

It also towered over all programs on the broadcast networks Friday night.

Boosted by "Monk," the fall finale of USA's freshman series "White Collar" also hit series highs, averaging 5.55 million viewers, the cable network's best performance at 10 p.m. Friday in more than three years, since the series premiere of "Psych."

"Collar" also posted its best numbers in adults 18-49: 2.1 million.

"What a perfect way for 'Monk', our first tentpole success, to finish its run -- going out even stronger than it came in, and helping to launch another great show, 'White Collar'," said USA's president of original programming Jeff Wachtel.