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2013 Basic Cable Ratings: USA Tops Again In Primetime But Down 8%; Nick At Nite, AMC Up Double Digits As Fox News & ABC Family Fall; TBS Leads Demo

By | Tuesday December 31, 2013 @ 4:50pm PST

usa-network-logoHere are the top cable networks of 2013 in total viewers and adults 18-49, based on Nielsen Media Research data:

Network: Total Viewers (in millions), % change from 2012

1. USA: 2.680, -8%
2. Disney: 2.438, -2%
3. ESPN: 2.210, -6%
4. History: 2.114, -2%
5. TNT: 2.070, -5%
6. TBS: 2.014, -3%
7. Fox News: 1.785, -13%
8. A&E: 1.781, +9%
9. FX: 1.466, +4%
10. AMC: 1.382, +18%
11. Discovery: 1.361, +5%
12. Home&Garden: 1.274, +7%
13. Lifetime: 1.270, +7%
14. Adult Swim: 1.230, +3%
15. ABC Family: 1.222, -11%
16. Syfy: 1.192, -8%
17. Food Network: 1.122, -7%
18. Nick at Nite: 1.091, +25%
19. TLC: 1.059, -2%
20. Bravo: 0.999, +6%
Read More »

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2011 Basic Cable Ratings: USA Still On Top, History & FX Up, Nick At Nite & TBS Down

By | Wednesday December 28, 2011 @ 6:19pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

YEARENDER: There was little change at the top of the primetime basic cable rankings for 2011, with USA finishing the year as No. 1 in total viewers and adults 18-49 for a sixth consecutive time on the strength of its original series. The cable network added another hit to its original slate this year with rookie Suits. There was one change each in the Top 5 among total viewers and 18-49 from 2010. History broke into the Top 5 among total viewers after doing the same among adults 18-49 last year, while siblings TNT and TBS swapped places in the top 18-49 echelon. (Network rankings after the jump.)

History’s ratings ascent continued in 2011. With red-hot unscripted fare such as Pawn Stars and American Pickers, the cable channel once again posted its best year ever with double-digit gains in total viewers and adults 18-49 and a Top 5 finish in both categories after cracking the Top 10 in both total measures for the first time last year.

Also posting double-digit growth for a second consecutive year was MTV, which was fueled by juggernaut Jersey Shore, hit unscripted franchise Teen Mom, staple Video Music Awards and hot scripted newcomer Awkward. MTV moved up 5 spots in total viewers and 3 in 18-49 to finish in the Top 20/Top 10. Also posting double-digit gains this year was FX. With the help of breakout hits American Horror Story and Wilfred, the network rebounded from last year’s single-digit losses in a big way. Other networks that are up from last year include SyFy, AMC, Bio and Style. Nick At Nite tumbled, down 22% from last year in total viewers (10% in 18-49), and TBS also posed double-digit losses in both total viewers and adults 18-49. Also down year-to-year were female-skewing Lifetime and Oxygen. And for all the hoopla and big price tag associated with its launch, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network finished on par with its predecessor Discovery Health.

Fox News Channel once again dominated the news network race, finishing as No.1 in total viewers (1.9 million) for a tenth straight year. It was down 7% from last year in total viewers, while sweeping the Top 13 most watched cable programs. CNN rebounded after posting its lowest-rated year in primetime in 2010. The network was up 17% to 689,000 viewers, which was still CNN’s second worst yearly average behind 2010. CNN finished behind MSNBC (775,000) in total viewers for a second consecutive year. MSNBC was up 2% in total viewers though down 11% at 8PM following the departure of star Keith Olbermann.

Here is a list of the top cable networks in total viewers and adults 18-49 for 2011 based on most current data: Read More »

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Kurt Sutter Hopes To Keep ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Going For At Least 7 Seasons

By | Wednesday December 7, 2011 @ 11:59am PST

Kurt Sutter, the colorful and occasionally churlish creator of the FX biker smash Sons Of Anarchy that wrapped its fourth and most successful campaign last night, is optimistic that his show will see a seventh season. Or more. SOA already has been renewed for a fifth season of 13 episodes. He said during a conference call with reporters this morning: “We’re hoping to be able to tell the story we want to tell in a seven-season arc, to have the length of time to do that. At least we’re open to exploring that.” But he added that his experience as a writer/executive producer on The Shield tells him that “the above-the-line costs can become too much” when trying to go beyond season seven. The reason Sutter is even able to consider three seasons into the future is the fact SOA just enjoyed its highest-rated season, standing as the No. 2 scripted drama on basic cable (trailing only AMC’s The Walking Dead) and the highest-rated series ever on FX. He credits the show’s increasing viewership in part to its availability over Netflix. “It helped people really plug into and get into the show the first few seasons,” Sutter believes. “It’s been really important to our rise.” Read More »

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Nielsen Admits Mistake In Kids Viewership Data But Stands Behind Nickelodeon Ratings

By | Monday December 5, 2011 @ 8:48am PST

Here’s some more anti-Nielsen fodder for Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman today at his UBS Global Media & Communications Conference appearance: The TV ratings company is admitting that it made a mistake when estimating the number of kids who are watching TV compared with last year. Though not directly related to Dauman’s fight with Nielsen over the ratings decline at kids network Nickelodeon, it’s likely he will use the admission for an I-told-you-so moment: The CEO has been on the hot seat since September, when Nielsen first reported the unusually weak ratings, and now he’s got ammunition for his claim that the decline is a “blip” owing to errors on Nielsen’s side. During the downswing, Viacom has seen analyst downgrades and a boost in make-goods that can’t be recouped during a time when Nick is ramping up its always robust fourth-quarter ad business, when it accounts for about 25% of Viacom’s ad revenue thanks to toy ads around the holidays. Nick also is losing traction to rivals like Disney Channel, which the week of November 20 beat Nick in the ratings for the first time since August 2007. Today, Nielsen is telling the Wall Street Journal that it is revising its estimate on the number of kids who watch TV: from up 1.7% to down 2.9%. The paper said Nielsen found that it failed to “apply a standard adjustment” after Viacom questioned the numbers, but that it has nothing to … Read More »

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Disney’s ‘Good Luck Charlie’ Movie Draws 6.9M Viewers, ‘Austin & Ally’ Opens To 5.7M

By | Saturday December 3, 2011 @ 1:10pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

The latest Disney Channel original movie, Good Luck Charlie: It’s Christmas, an offshoot of the network’s hit sitcom, premiered with 6.9 million total viewers last night. It dethroned Lifetime’s The Craiglist Killer as the most-watched live-action cable movie of 2011. Good Luck Charlie also delivered 3.3 million kids 6-11, 2.4 million tweens and 1.4 million adults 18-49. The movie provided a strong launching pad for Disney Channel’s new music-centered sitcom Austin & Ally, which opened well with 5.7 million total viewers, 2.7 million kids 6-11 and 2.1 million tweens. The series moves to its regular time slot Sunday.

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SUNDAY CABLE RATINGS: ‘Walking Dead’, ‘Kourtney & Kim’ And ‘After Lately’ Up

By | Monday November 28, 2011 @ 11:50am PST
Nellie Andreeva

While broadcast series suffered across-the-board ratings declines last night, some of their cable brethren were sizzling. AMC’s The Walking Dead wrapped its fall run with 6.6 million viewers — a whopping 4.5 million of them in the adults 18-49 demographic (that’s more than the 3.9 million adults 25-54 who watched the episode). The zombie series was up from last week in all categories, including 8% in total viewers. Over at E!, the drama surrounding the 72-day marriage of Kim Kardashian drew viewers to the second-season premiere of Kourtney & Kim Take New York, which posted 3.2 million total viewers, up 6% from the series debut in January. In 18-49, the reality series averaged 2.3 million, up 8%. Following Kourtney & Kim, the Season 2 premiere of After Lately at 11 PM posted a series high in total viewers with 1.2 million, up 7% from the Season 1 opener, and in several demographics, including adults 18-34.

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Tyler Perry’s Latest TBS Series Off To OK Start, Jeff Dunham Posts Record For BIO

By | Monday November 28, 2011 @ 11:22am PST
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: While other networks filled the Thanksgiving holiday with repeats and specials, TBS opted to launch a new scripted series on Black Friday. For most shows that would spell gloom and doom, but not if the series has Tyler Perry’s name in it. Perry once again proved his drawing power as his latest TBS sitcom, Tyler Perry’s For Better Or Worse, drew 3.4 million viewers (1.8 million in adults 18-49) in its launch Friday night. The series based on Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? movies was significantly down from the stellar debut of Perry’s first TBS sitcom, the recently canceled House of Payne, which opened with 5.9 million viewers in June 2007, but closer to the premiere audience for Perry’s second TBS comedy Meet The Browns (4 million) in February 2009. For a launch in the middle of a four-day holiday, For Better Or Worse did solid business. The question is why the premiere was slotted there.

After breaking Comedy Central’s ratings records with his holiday special exactly three years ago, Jeff Dunham did it again for the BIO Channel last week. The special Jeff Dunham: Birth Of A Dummy last Tuesday became the most-watched telecast in the network’s history, drawing 714,000 total viewers, 425,000 adults 25-54 and 321,000 adults 18-49 in its premiere, all ratings records for BIO. Read More »

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Cable Ratings: ‘Hell On Wheels’ Slides In Week 2, ‘Homeland’ Continues To Grow

By | Tuesday November 15, 2011 @ 10:39am PST
Nellie Andreeva

In its second week, AMC’s period Western Hell On Wheels drew 3.8 million total viewers, 1.8 million in adults 18-49 and 25-54. That was down 14% in total viewers, 25% in 18-49 and 21% in 25-54 from the series’ solid premiere. Meanwhile, another freshman, Showtime’s Homeland, continues its steady growth. The conspiracy thriller averaged 1.42 million viewers at 10 PM, up 7% from the previous Sunday, and 1.68 million for the night to post its fifth consecutive week of ratings increases. At Lifetime, Project Runway spinoff Project Accessory has averaged 1.1 million viewers in its first 3 weeks, tracking 214% higher than the mothership series did in its first season on Bravo.

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‘Real Housewives Of Atlanta’ Premiere Posts Franchise High, ‘Homeland’ Still Grows

By | Tuesday November 8, 2011 @ 8:49am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Bravo’s The Real Housewives Of Atlanta drew 2.9 million viewers for its season premiere on Sunday to mark the most-watched season debut in the history of the Real Housewives franchise. In adults 18-49, the reality series averaged 1.9 million. It was up 20% from last season’s premiere in total viewers and 10% in 18-49. On Showtime, new drama Homeland posted another series high in total viewers: 1.33 million  at 10 PM and 1.61 million for the night for a fourth consecutive week of audience growth. Its lead-in, veteran Dexter, posted its largest viewership since the season premiere with 1.98 million viewers, up 10% vs. last week, and 2.45 million for the night.

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AMC’s ‘Hell On Wheels’ Debuts With 4.4 Mil

By | Monday November 7, 2011 @ 12:21pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

AMC’s newest series, period Western Hell On Wheels, was off to a strong start last night. It drew 4.4 million viewers and ranked as the cable network’s second-highest-rated series premiere behind mega-hit The Walking Dead, which opened with 5.3 million last fall, in total viewers as well as adults 18-49 and 25-54. Hell On Wheels is young-skewing, drawing more adults 18-49 viewers (2.4 million) than adults 25-54 (2.3 million). “I congratulate the entire cast and crew of Hell On Wheels for pulling off a project of this scope,” AMC president Charlie Collier said. “Bringing the grandeur of the Old West and the building of the railroad to life is no small feat and the Gaytons, with their team, have delivered a beautiful world of which we are all so proud.” The eOne-produced Hell On Wheels, set in post-Civil War America circa 1865, was created and written by Joe and Tony Gayton.

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Cable Notes: History Picks Up New Series, ‘Homeland’ Keeps Growing

By | Tuesday November 1, 2011 @ 10:45am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

History has picked up Real Deal, a new reality series about the market for collectibles. The half-hour series, based on the British series Dickinson’s Real Deal, which is going into its eighth season on ITV, is like Deal Or No Deal with collectibles. Sellers take their items to a dealer who offers them a price. The sellers can take the money or walk away, taking their items to an auction house where they can get a lot more money but they could also end up with less — or even empty-handed. The 10-episode Real Deal, which premieres November 25, is produced by Zodiak USA, on whose format the series is based. Natalka Znak, Claire O’Donohoe and Rhett Bachner are executive producing.

Showtime’s newly renewed drama Homeland continues its steady ratings growth. On Sunday, it logged its largest audience to date — 1.3 million at 10 PM, up 18% vs. the series’ premiere, and 1.6 million for the night. It’s the third consecutive week of viewership increases for the thriller starring Claire Danes. Its lead-in, Dexter, averaged 2.4 million viewers for the night, its best total-night delivery since the season premiere.

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CNN’s ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’ Gets Beat In The Ratings By A 3 AM Fox News Show

By | Tuesday November 1, 2011 @ 10:11am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

CNN’s 9 PM anchor Piers Morgan Tonight is regularly pummeled in the ratings by its Fox News primetime counterparts. But in October, it also got beat by Fox News’ overnight program Red Eye, which airs at 3 AM. The talk show hosted by Greg Gutfeld averaged the largest audience in its five-year history (446,000) as well as 177,000 in adults 25-54. In the demo, it edged Piers Morgan (176,000) at 9 PM as well as a slew of other cable news programs in way more trafficked time slots: CNN’s Erin Burnett Outfront (146,000) at 7 PM, MSNBC’s Morning Joe (141,000) from 6-9 AM, MSNBC’s Hardball With Chris Matthews (163,000) at 5 PM and 7 PM, HLN’s Nancy Grace (157,000) at 8 PM, and CNN’s John King USA (121,000) at 6 PM. What led to Red Eye‘s ratings surge? Possible explanations include Gutfeld’s additional exposure as one of the co-hosts of Fox News’ 5 PM show The Five as well as his recent Twitter war with Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine over the rocker’s request that Fox News stops playing their music.

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Starz’s ‘Boss’ Drops In Week 2 Against Game 7 of The World Series

By | Monday October 31, 2011 @ 3:15pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Airing against the blockbuster Game 7 of the World Series on Friday, the second episode of Starz’s new drama Boss averaged 391,000 viewers in its premiere airing at 10 PM, down 44% from the series debut. For the weekend, the drama starring Kelsey Grammer posted 1.1 million viewers, down from 1.7 million for the premiere.

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MTV’s ‘Beavis & Butt-Head’ Solid In Return

By | Friday October 28, 2011 @ 1:46pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

In hindsight, launching the new incarnation of Mike Judge’s male-skewing Beavis And Butt-Head against Game 6 of the World Series was probably not such a good idea. But under the circumstances, the MTV show about two teen delinquents did well in its return after a 14-year hiatus. The new Beavis And Butt-Head posted a 2.6 rating in the persons 12-34 demographic and 3.3 million total viewers in its premiere at 10 PM. While far from the ratings heights of MTV’s mega-hit Jersey Shore, Beavis And Butt-Head did better than any recent scripted series premiere on the network. The show also attracted males to the female-skewing channel despite the competition for the World Series with a 3.4 males 12-34 rating to rank as MTV’s top series in the demo behind Jersey Shore. The Beavis And Butt-Head premiere was used to launch MTV’s other new animated series, Good Vibes, which held on to a little of its lead-in to post a so-so 1.4 persons 12-34 rating and 1.6 million viewers.

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Live+7 Update: ‘American Horror Story’ Now FX’s Highest-Rated Series Premiere

By | Tuesday October 25, 2011 @ 1:38pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The adults 18-49 viewership for the premiere of FX’s new drama series American Horror Story jumped 54% in Live+7 vs. Live+Same Day to 3.14 million, surpassing the 3 million viewer tally for The Shield to become FX’s highest-rated series premiere in the 18-49 demo. In adults 18-34, the series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk rose 49% to 1.77 million, also the best for any FX series premiere. Additionally, in Live+3, Episode 3 of the horror drama (2.82 million in 18-49, 1.76 million in 18-34) is now tracking higher than the series premiere at the same point (2.78, 1.55 million). AHS continues tomorrow night with the first of a two-part Halloween episode guest starring Zachary Quinto.

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Starz’s ‘Boss’ Off To Soft Ratings Start

By | Monday October 24, 2011 @ 1:44pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Starz Renews New Series ‘Boss’ For Second Season Before Premiere

Starz’s new drama series Boss, which has already been renewed for a second season, premiered with a so-so 659,000 viewers at 10 PM on Friday. That was below recent Starz series debuts Spartacus: Gods Of The Arena, (1.098 million), Camelot (1.125 million) and Torchwood: Miracle Day (819,000). Of course, in premium cable ratings often take back seat when making calls on renewals, as evident by HBO’s decisions to stick with such series as Treme, Bored To Death and How To Make It In America. (Though Starz yanked Party Down and Gravity because of weak ratings.) Boss, which stars Kelsey Grammer as an unscrupulous Chicago mayor with a dark secret, averaged 1.05 million viewers for the two Friday airings and 1.72 million for the weekend, also below Gods Of The Arena, Camelot and Torchwood.

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MTV’s ‘Jersey Shore’ Slips In Season 4 Finale

By | Friday October 21, 2011 @ 6:58pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

What goes up must come down. There is no series whose ratings have kept growing indefinitely, and even MTV’s mega hit Jersey Shore is not immune from that, posting its first season-to-season decline in its finale last night. The closer of the Jersey gang’s Italian adventure drew 6.6 million viewers, reversing the upward trend of 4.8 million for the Season 1 finale, 6.1 million for Season 2 and 7.6 million for Season 3. The finale was also down from the fourth-season premiere, which drew some 8.8 million viewers, the most ever for an MTV series debut. Jersey Shore‘s demo ratings are still very potent. Last night’s finale posted a 3.7 rating in adults 18-49, beating everything on broadcast TV besides CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and Fox’s coverage of the World Series.

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‘The Walking Dead’ Premiere Shatters Cable Demo Ratings Records, Draws 7.3 Million Total Viewers

By | Monday October 17, 2011 @ 12:02pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Behind-the-scenes turmoil did little to slow down The Walking Dead ratings behemoth, which opened its second season at 9 PM last night to staggering numbers:

4.8 million viewers in Adults 18-49
4.2 million viewers in Adults 25-54
7.3 million total viewers for premiere
11 million total viewers for the night

The 18-49 and 25-54 tallies broke basic cable’s previous records posted by the premiere of USA Network’s The Dead Zone in June 2002 (4.0 million in 18-49, 4.1 million in 25-54). Compared with Walking Dead‘s highly rated series premiere last year (5.2 million total viewers, 3.5 million in 18-49), the Season 2 opener was up a whopping 38% in total viewers, 36% in 18-49 and 35% in 25-54. With the 9 PM airing and the 10:30 PM and 12:30 AM encores, the Walking Dead premiere drew a total of 11 million viewers. “The Walking Dead is one of those rare television programs that reaches both a core genre fan as well as broad audiences simply looking for a great, character-based story,” said AMC president Charlie Collier. “That The Walking Dead is now the most-watched drama in the history of basic cable is staggering, just like our zombies.” UPDATE: AMC’s talk show Talking Dead got off to a solid start at midnight, following the first rerun of the Walking Dead premiere. It averaged 1.2 million total viewers, 795,000 adults 18-49 and 735,000 adults 25-54.

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HBO’s ‘Enlightened’ Off To A Soft Start

By | Wednesday October 12, 2011 @ 12:09am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Opening a new night of original programming is not easy, so expectations for HBO’s new Monday 9 PM comedy block — which faces CBS’ comedies, ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, Fox’s House and ESPN’s Monday Night Football — were modest. Even by that standard, the well-received new Mike White/Laura Dern comedy Enlightened opened low with 210,000 viewers at 9:30 PM. It slipped a little from its lead-in, the third-season premiere of Bored To Death, which drew 240,000 viewers. Quirky noir comedy Bored To Death was down dramatically from its season premiere last fall, which averaged 1.05 million viewers, but back then, the show aired on Sundays following Boardwalk Empire, which drew 3.33 million viewers on the night of the Bored debut. This time around, it is dark comedy Hung that follows Boardwalk Empire and, like Bored to Death last year, it opened with 1.1 million viewers earlier this month. (Boardwalk Empire logged 2.6 million that night) Sophomore comedy How To Make It To America dropped further to 467,000 viewers at 10:30 PM. While soft, the numbers for Bored and Enlightened were only slightly down from the average for another half-hour series that aired outside HBO’s signature Sunday night, drama In Treatment.

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