Cable preems solid

TNT 'Girl' update, Showtime's 'L' debut

In a weekend of high-profile cable premieres, TNT’s update of “The Goodbye Girl” and Showtime’s lesbian-centered drama “The L Word” bowed to solid, but not socko, auds in their respective debuts.

Friday’s 8 p.m. showing of “Girl” attracted a fair 3.5 million overall viewers, 1.6 million among viewers 18-49. But TNT is more pleased with the program’s total delivery — cabler aired the original movie toplining Patricia Heaton and Jeff Daniels five times over the weekend. Cume for the three-day premiere delivered 5.5 million viewers in 18-49 and 6.2 million total viewers.

By way of comparison, however, the third season debut of USA’s “Monk” on Friday nabbed 6 million overall viewers in its single airing. “Monk” also boosted USA to the top spot in total viewers among ad-supported cable for last week.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s 10 p.m. premiere of “The L Word” on Showtime delivered 936,000 total viewers, averaging a 0.5 national rating in the 18-49 category.

It’s difficult to compare “The L Word” numbers to Showtime’s 2003 ratings — Nielsen has since upgraded its technology to record, for example, Showtime only — and not, as previously, Showtime plus all of the multiplex channels attached to it. However, the numbers are on par with similarly hyped premieres for Showtime including the movie “The Reagans” (1.2 million) and the third-season premiere of “Queer As Folk” (1.1 million.)

Also on Sunday, ABC Family’s original movie “I Want to Marry Ryan Banks” attracted just 1.8 million viewers to the cabler, down from the channel’s December effort “Picking Up and Dropping Off,” which drew 2.8 million.

And on Monday, the second-season premiere of Discovery Channel’s “American Chopper” won a series-best aud of 4.3 million viewers. Program ranked No. 1 among total viewers 18-49, men 18-48 and men 25-54 for the night on ad-supported cable.

Also on Monday, VH1’s debut of the 10-part series “Bands Reunited” picked up about 400,000 viewers in the key 18-49 demo, up 33% from the timeslot’s previous four-week average. Elsewhere in the week, sister net MTV continues to dominate 18-34 rankings with new segs of “Real World” and repeats of “Newlyweds.”

And History Channel’s two-hour spec “Barbarians:Vikings/Goths” grabbed a spectacular 3.1 million total viewers, with 1.5 million in the channel’s target 25-54 aud.

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