USA Network feeling the 'Burn'


USA Network's new series "Burn Notice" has gotten off to a good start.

The series, starring Jeffrey Donovan as a spy who suddenly finds himself blacklisted, averaged 4 million total viewers in its commercial-free debut from 10-11 p.m. Thursday, according to Nielsen Media Research. That includes 2 million viewers in the adults 18-49 demo and 2.2 million in adults 25-54, making it the No. 1 basic cable program of the night in both demos.

"Burn" built on its lead-in, the finale of the limited series "The Starter Wife," which averaged 3.1 million total viewers, including 1.6 million in 18-49, from 9-10 p.m. Both programs also beat some broadcast competition in their respective time periods, with "Burn" outperforming a repeat of ABC's "Men in Trees" in 18-49 and 25-54 and "Wife" beating a repeat of ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" in 18-49.

Compared with other recent series debuts on USA, "Burn" was off from July 2006's debut of "Psych" (6.1 million), the top new cable series of last year among 18-49 and 25-54.

Meanwhile, the BET Awards '07 pulled in big numbers for the network Tuesday night. The telecast averaged 6.4 million total viewers from 8-11 p.m. That's the third-most-watched installment of the awards show, which debuted in 2001.

It was off only slightly from last year's record-breaking telecast (6.64 million) and the 2005 show (6.58 million).

Among the adult demos, this year's BET Awards drew 2.1 million in 18-34 (down from last year by only 25,000 viewers) and 3.6 million in 18-49 (off by only 20,000 viewers).

At Bravo, the reality series "Hey Paula," starring Paula Abdul, debuted Thursday with back-to-back episodes from 10-11 p.m. The 10 p.m. episode averaged 619,000 total viewers, while the 10:30 episode drew 596,000 total viewers. In 18-49, the episodes averaged 385,000 and 391,000 viewers, respectively.

Bravo also aired an unpublicized "sneak peak" of both episodes from 9-10 p.m. Episode 1 at 9 p.m. averaged 422,000 total viewers and 249,000 in 18-49, while Episode 2 at 9:30 p.m. drew 338,000 total viewers and 181,000 in the demo.