USA Network series debut strong

'Royal Pains' holds the bulk of lead-in 'Burn Notice'

USA Network kicked off its summer season in style, with hit "Burn Notice" and new dramedy "Royal Pains" off to a strong start Thursday against Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

In its new 9 p.m. slot, "Burn Notice" logged its best season premiere numbers with the third-season opener drawing 6 million viewers, 2.5 million of them in the 18-49 demographic. That is up 11% in total viewers and up 7% in adults 18-49 from the show's second season debut and only a fraction lower than the series high of 6.1 million (2.7 million in 18-49) netted by the second-season finale in March.

In adults 18-49, "Burn Notice" outperformed two of its broadcast competitors, the repeat of "CSI" on CBS and the premiere of "The Listener" on NBC.

Following at 10 p.m., "Royal Pains," held to the bulk of its lead-in to end up with 5.6 million viewers, 2.3 million in adults 18-49.

"Royal Pains," which stars Mark Feuerstein as a doctor to the rich, was USA's most-watched series debut since "Psych" set a record in July 2006 with 6.1 million viewers, airing behind another network hit, "Monk."

"Royal Pains" debut scored higher than the premieres of "Burn Notice" and "Out of Sight." It also beat the second episode of "Listener" in 19-49 and CBS' "The Mentalist" repeat in adults 18-34.