NEW YORK — Reinforcing the proposition that one powerhouse movie can work wonders for a cable network, TNT vaulted into first place in primetime among all cable networks for the week of Aug. 16 on the strength of “You Know My Name,” an original Western starring Sam Elliott.
In its cable premiere at 8 p.m. Sunday, “You Know My Name” harvested a 6.4 Nielsen rating in cable homes, making it the third-most-watched original movie in TNT’s history (behind two other Westerns, “Last Stand at Saber River,” with Tom Selleck, and “Purgatory,” with Sam Shepard).
Even the second play of “You Know” at 10 p.m. Sunday averaged a gaudy 2.7 rating in cable homes, putting that showing in a tie for the 26th highest-rated cable program of the week.
Translating these numbers into the overall rating for the network for the week of Aug. 16-22, TNT averaged a 2.4 primetime rating compared with a 1.9 rating for the same period a year ago, topping the perennially No. 1-rated cable network this season, USA, which averaged a 2.3.
In recent months, TNT has lagged behind USA, averaging only a 1.8 primetime rating in cable homes for July while USA was chalking up a 2.4. For the second quarter of this year, TNT’s primetime average was a 2.1 rating compared with USA’s 2.4.
“You Know” even beat NBC and Fox from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. While “You Know” was delivering 4.87 million households, NBC managed only 4.76 million homes (for “You Asked for It” and the first hour of the Charlie Sheen action movie “Terminal Velocity”) and Fox delivered only 4.43 million homes (for rerun episodes of “The Simpsons,” “Futurama” and “The X-Files”).