Going is rough for Tori and ‘Huff’

Cable skeins overwhelmed by 'Grey's'

Despite mass marketing blitzes, VH1’s Tori Spelling starrer “So Notorious” and the return of Showtime’s “Huff” got off to so-so starts Sunday.

While both series launched to heavy fanfare, 10 p.m. competition from “Grey’s Anatomy” (22 million viewers overall, 9.9 national rating/24 share in 18-49) seems to have overwhelmed the debuts.

“Notorious,” VH1’s first attempt at a scripted sitcom, drew 1.1 million viewers overall at 10 and another 823,000 to the second episode at 10:30. Numbers pale in comparison with those of recent VH1 hits like “Flavor of Love,” which wrapped its season to 6 million viewers last month and ranked as the first quarter’s No. 1 nonsports basic cable show in adults 18-49.

“Notorious” also lost steam from its lead-ins — new episodes of “Surreal Life” at 9 and “Hogan Knows Best” at 9:30 — which each drew auds of 2.1 million viewers. On the flip side, “Notorious” posted a 0.4/1 in 18-49, up 50% over VH1’s current primetime average in the 18-49 demo.

Showtime’s “Huff” delivered just 372,000 in its initial Sunday airing, off 36% from its 9 p.m. lead-in, the network premiere of Oscar-winning feature “Crash” (580,000). Tally is also down from the show’s series debut (456,000) and the first episode of frosh comedy “Weeds” (538,000). Showtime said the first three airings of episode one delivered a total 638,000 total viewers. They aired Sunday and Monday.

Pay cable execs are quick to point out that episodes air multiple times over the course of a week and are available on systems with on-demand capabilities (a service that cannot yet be measured) — which are said to flatten the Sunday performance.

However, Emmy-winning skein aired during one of Showtime’s free preview weekends, making the premiere of “Huff” available to a larger percentage of the country outside of Showtime’s own base of subscribers. (When the network bowed “Fat Actress” on a free preview weekend around this time last year, skein scored 924,000 viewers.)

Elsewhere on Sunday, ABC Family’s original movie “Hello Sister, Goodbye Life” attracted more than 2.6 million total viewers at 7.

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