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Cable duo wrap strongly

'Nip,' 'Newlyweds' hold own against b'casters

HOLLYWOOD — Two of cable’s hottest series, FX drama “Nip/Tuck” and MTV’s reality skein “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica,” ended their seasons with strong numbers Tuesday.

Game 3 of the World Series was another winner for Fox, meanwhile, but a 40-minute rain delay in the 10 o’clock hour back east may have freed up some viewers for the cablers’ finales.

According to Nielsen, “Nip/Tuck” — the top-rated new basic cable series of the year in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers — wrapped its initial season Tuesday with a 1.6 national rating/4 share among 18-49 and 2.99 million viewers overall.

It finished in a virtual tie for the evening’s top cable ratings with MTV’s “Nick and Jessica” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 2.87m). “Newlyweds” was the evening’s clear cable leader among 18-34, with its 2.8/6 trailing only baseball on Fox and NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” at 10:30.

“Nip,” whose 15-episode second season will begin in late spring, ranks as the calendar year’s top-rated new cable skein among 18-49 (2.20 million viewers in the demo), with “Newlyweds” at No. 2 (2.01 million). “Nip/Tuck” also leads among 25-54 (2.18 million) and overall audience (3.25 million).

Among all ad-supported cable series this season, “Nip/Tuck” is a very close second to FX’s other hit skein, “The Shield” (2.21 million).

As for the World Series on Fox, Game 3 averaged a 6.6/19 in 18-49 and 18.89 million viewers overall — up 12% in 18-49 from last year but down 20% from 2001. This is better than Saturday’s Game 1 but below Sunday’s Game 2.

Elsewhere, NBC’s “Whoopi” (3.4/10 in 18-49, 9.77m), although down from last week’s strong delivery, looked pretty solid kicking off the night, finishing within 1 share of a special firstrun “According to Jim” (3.6/11 in 18-49, 9.27m) and leading its time period in women 25-54 (5.1/13).

In the 8:30 battle of new comedies, ABC’s “I’m With Her” (3.9/10 in A18-49, 8.47m) moved back ahead of NBC’s “Happy Family” (3.4/9 in 18-49, 9.21m) in key categories, building on “Jim” by 8% in 18-49.

At UPN, a repeat of “Girlfriends” at 9:30 (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.56m) improved upon the previous week’s seg of the now-canceled “The Mullets,” thanks in part to an uptick for lead-in “Rock Me Baby” (1.4/3 in 18-49, 2.86m). Net’s “All of Us” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 3.96m) also continues to do well at 8:30, building on its “One on One” lead-in (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.48m).

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