'Tomb' boon for cabler

The combination of producer James Cameron and the subject of Christ’s rediscovered burial site proved irresistible to a mass aud on Sunday night as the Discovery Channel drew 4.1 million viewers — its best number in 18 months — to “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.”

Two-hour primetime spec ended up in a tie with TNT’s primetime run of “The Bourne Supremacy” for No. 1 basic cable program Sunday among households.

Discovery also scored some of its best numbers ever with the special among adults 25-54 (its demo target), with 2.2 million, and 18-49, with 2.08 million.

“Lost Tomb” catapulted the web to a rare sixth place overall among ad-supported cable networks for the week ended Sunday and fourth place overall with 25-54 and 18-49 demos.

The big winner for the week was USA, which snared the four highest-rated individual programs: two separate hours of wrestling’s “WWE Raw” on Feb. 26, each of which chalked up more than 6 million viewers; and the Friday-night season finales of “Monk” (5.7 million viewers) and “Psych” (4.48 million).

The History Channel got off to a solid start in its Barbarians Week of special programs with the two-hour premiere of “The Dark Ages” on Sunday. It racked up 2.3 million viewers, the network’s best numbers for the year to date, including 1.1 million adults 25-54.

On the same night, E! delivered the second highest-rated series premiere in its 16-year history with the third-season kickoff of “The Girls Next Door,” a reality series that follows the exploits of three of Hugh Hefner’s blonde playmates. “Girls” averaged a 1.8 rating/5 share in adults 18-34 and 2.17 million viewers overall.

And on Monday, a 60-minute episode of the reality series “I Love New York” pulled in 4.1 million viewers. In adults 18-49 (1.8/4), it was the highest-rated original series episode on basic cable year to date, according to VH1. It also did a 2.6/7 in adults 18-34.

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