'Penguins' march Hallmark to its best day ever


Hallmark Channel's big movie acquisition paid off during the weekend as "March of the Penguins" drew strong numbers for the network.

In other cable ratings news, TBS' scripted comedy series "My Boys" got off to a promising start Tuesday, while the network's new comedy "10 Items or Less" had a softer debut the day before. Meanwhile, Cartoon Network said that it had a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day with the premiere of the animated movie "Good Wilt Hunting."

"Penguins" averaged 4.5 million total viewers in its two-hour telecast at 9 p.m. Saturday, winning its time period compared with the rest of basic cable. The Oscar-winning documentary also helped give Hallmark Channel its best day ever with a 3.6 household rating and 2.6 million homes in primetime and a 1.4 and 1.1 million homes in total day.

Hallmark Channel acquired the network TV premiere rights to "Penguins" this year as part of a multipicture deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution that the network called its most ambitious acquisition agreement ever. David Kenin, executive vp programming at Hallmark Channel, said the docu's performance indicates that "airing first-run theatricals is a winning strategy for the network."

Meanwhile, TBS' scripted comedy series "My Boys," from Sony Pictures Television, debuted with back-to-back episodes at 10 and 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, averaging 1.8 million and 1.6 million total viewers, respectively.

The average viewership of the two episodes (1.7 million total viewers) built on the year-ago performance of a "Sex and the City"/"Seinfeld" combo (1.2 million average). The 10 p.m. episode of "My Boys," starring Jordana Spiro, also built on its "Sex and the City" lead-in (1.66 million total viewers).

The loosely scripted "10 Items," also from SPT, averaged 1.1 million total viewers at 11 p.m. Monday.

The half-hour series, which kicked off TBS' new late-night strategy, was off from its "Family Guy" lead-in (1.5 million total viewers) but did build on the network's performance of a year ago, when the first half-hour of the theatrical "Scrooge" averaged 870,000 total viewers.

Cartoon Network's "Good Wilt Hunting," the first original animated movie for "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends," which aired at 7 p.m. Nov. 23, was the No. 1 cable program of the day among kids 6-11, drawing 1.2 million viewers and a 4.8 rating in the demo. Both those figures represent a 100% increase over the same period a year ago and helped to give Cartoon Network its best Thanksgiving Day performance ever.

In kids 2-11, the movie drew 1.4 million viewers, up 49% over the same period in 2005, and a 3.4 rating, up 48% from a year ago.