USA on fire among cable nets

'Burn Notice' posts a series high

USA Network posted some incendiary ratings numbers last week as Thursday's midseason finale of "Burn Notice" notched a series-high 7.6 million viewers.

According to Nielsen ratings data for the week ending Aug. 9, USA boasted six of the week's 10 most-watched programs on ad-supported cable, including the Aug. 6 episode of the Miami spy drama and its 10 p.m. lead-out "Royal Pains," which drew 6.7 million viewers.

Also drawing a crowd was the eighth and final season premiere of USA's "Monk," which scared up 5.1 million viewers at 9 p.m. Friday. The return of Tony Shalhoub and company edged USA's Monday night wrestling franchise "WWE Raw," which drew 5.1 million total viewers Aug. 3.

Overall, USA averaged 4.1 million viewers during the week, 30% greater than the network's second-quarter primetime average. The net coasted to wins in all three major demographics, drawing 1.7 million adults 25-54, 1.4 million viewers 18-49 and 578,000 viewers 18-34.

Second place for the week went to TNT, which averaged 2.7 million viewers in primetime, of which 1.3 million were adults 25-54. The network averaged 1.1 million viewers 18-49 and took third among the 18-34 set with 384,000.

As has been the case throughout its five-season run, TNT's original drama "The Closer" enjoyed a strong showing, as the Aug. 3 installment averaged 7 million viewers. It picked up 2.7 million adults 25-54 in its 9 p.m. Monday slot and drew 2 million viewers 18-49.

TNT also enjoyed a consistent performance from its crime drama "Leverage," which drew 3.7 million viewers at 9 p.m. Wednesday, and its freshman hospital series "Hawthorne," which landed 3.6 million viewers at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Fox News Channel again held third place in the weekly ratings, averaging 2.3 million viewers, 573,000 of which were in the core news demo. The network enjoyed its strongest showing courtesy of "The O'Reilly Factor," which drew 3.7 million viewers at 8 p.m. Thursday. On Tuesday, "O'Reilly" delivered 3.7 million viewers in the first hour of primetime.

Fourth place overall went to Nick at Nite, which drew 1.9 million total viewers thanks in large part to the premiere of the one-hour special iCarly event, "iFight Shelby Marx." The Nickelodeon movie served up 7.9 million viewers in the 8 p.m. Saturday slot, making it the year's most-watched scripted program on ad-supported cable.

In key kids demos, the martial arts-themed special averaged 4.3 million kids 2-11 and 3.5 million kids 6-11. A new 30-minute installment of "iCarly" led out of the movie at 9 p.m., drawing 4.9 million viewers.

Disney Channel finishing third among all basic-cable nets with an average nightly audience of 2.5 million viewers. The non-ad-supported network scurried to another victory among kids 6-11 (1.1 million) and had no trouble repeating in tweens 9-14 (886,000).