Cable shows sizzle as broadcast nets fizzle

HBO is getting its groove back on Sunday nights.

Vampire drama “True Blood” put up more sexy numbers with its fourth airing of the season as a record 3.9 million viewers tuned into the Sunday 9 p.m. telecast. The Nielsen needle moved in the right direction for the second episode of “Hung” (3.6 million), which was up 29% from its premiere rating two weeks ago and held the lion’s share of its lead-in. At 10:30 p.m., “Entourage” (3.4m) logged its best preem numbers in two years.

Along with the HBO shows, cable’s summer hot streak with original skeins continued last week with solid showings from the debuts of Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva” and ABC Family’s “10 Things I Hate About You” and more hefty numbers from TNT’s “The Closer” and USA’s “Royal Pains” and “Burn Notice.”

Meanwhile, the post Fourth of July frame was ho-hum for the broadcasters. NBC had the top two programs of the week in adults 18-49 with “America’s Got Talent,” which brought in 3.3 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 11.9 million viewers overall in its Wednesday edition, while Tuesday’s scored 3.0/9 and 11 million viewers overall.

CNN’s live coverage of Michael Jackson’s July 7 memorial service made cable’s top five for the week ended Sunday in total viewers and adults 18-49 — an impressive showing for a daytime telecast. The final 3-4 p.m. ET hour of the memorial averaged 5.7 million total viewers (2.5 million in adults 18-49), according to Nielsen nationals.

Fox squeaked out the weekly win in adults 18-49 (1.5/5) on the strength of three hours of “So You Think You Can Dance” on Wednesday (2.9/9, 7.59m) and Thursday (2.9/9, 7.89m) and Sunday repeats of its animated comedies, led by 9 p.m.’s “Family Guy” (2.1/6 in 184-49, 4.22m).

In the battle of the talent shows, younger auds favored Fox’s “Dance,” which ranked No. 1 for the week among adults 18-34 (3.0/11) and persons 12-34 (2.6/10), while the older crowd went for “America’s Got Talent,” which topped the week in adults 25-54 (4.2/11) as well as 18-49.

The Eye led the week in total viewers (6.46 million) by a comfortable margin and was a close second to Fox in 18-49 (1.4/5). CBS was boosted in the demo by the return of summer stalwart “Big Brother” on Thursday (2.3/8, 6.59m) and Sunday (2.0/6, 6.29m).

ABC and NBC were tied at 1.3/4 in the key demo, followed by Univision (1.2/4). NBC ran second to CBS in viewers (4.79m), followed by Fox (4.37m), ABC (4.32m) and USA (3.21m).

CW was barely on the radar last week with a sked that was wall-to-wall reruns other than Sunday’s telecast of the 1986 pic “Hoosiers” (1.08m), which drew the net’s highest total viewer tally of the week.

ABC had some traction on Monday with “The Bachelorette” (2.6/8, 7.71m) and on Wednesday with “Wipeout” (2.9/10, 8.19m), but the Alphabet’s weekly numbers were dragged down by the weakness of its comedy and drama reruns Thursday-Sunday. NBC was in the same boat. Sunday’s first installment of disaster mini “Meteor” (1.1/3, 5.07m) was anything but menacing from a Nielsen standpoint.

Cable’s top draw in viewers last week was Monday’s “The Closer” (6.05m). “Royal Pains” was a close second in viewers (5.37m), while its Thursday-night companion, “Burn Notice,” was cable’s top scripted series in 18-49 (2.26m), ranking third for the week behind USA’s WWE and CNN’s Jackson memorial coverage.

Nickelodeon had a good showing on Saturday with a fresh episode of tween fave “iCarly” (5.22m).

ABC Family made cable’s top 10 in 18-49 with Sunday’s telecast of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (2.03m). The cabler’s latest original comedy “10 Things” (1.6m) got off to a respectable start on Tuesday.

Lifetime had reason to celebrate as the Sunday bow of dramedy “Drop Dead Diva” (2.8m) gave a lift to its 10 p.m. companion, “Army Wives” (3.8m).

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