USA Wins Back Some Viewers Over Summer With Known Favorites, Edgy New Shows

Bob Mahoney/USA Network

“Suits” and “Necessary Roughness” helped the NBCUniversal cable network increase its summer ratings after a weaker 2010, even though 18-to-49-year-old viewers remained below the summer of 2009, its highest-rated to-date.

NEW YORK – NBCUniversal cable channel USA Network this summer recouped all of the losses in total viewers that it had recorded last summer and about half of its losses in the coveted 18-49 demo, the New York Times reported.

The return of established summer favorites, such as Burn Notice and Royal Pains, which USA spread across more nights this summer, combined with edgy new shows Suits and Necessary Roughness seemed to be a winning formula.

Compared with the summer of 2009, USA’s highest-rated so far, the network had lost 4 percent of its primetime viewers during the summer of 2010 and nearly 10 percent of viewers 18-49.

The latest summer’s ratings, which are formally compiled this week, should give new NBCUniversal owner Comcast confidence that its bet on cable programming is paying off, the Times said.

The paper also said that USA’s ratings strength is part of cable networks’ overall robust summer performance as viewership continues to shift away from broadcast networks.