HBO's 'True Blood,' MTV's 'Jersey Shore' score in ratings

Thanks in large part to Sookie and Snooki, last week was another big one in primetime for cable.

In a summer frame that saw nothing especially pop on the broadcast nets, HBO’s “True Blood” rose to the top — claiming primetime’s top spot in adults 18-49 for the first time. This is impressive since the pay cabler is available in only one third of the country’s homes.

Also making its mark last week — finishing in a tie for fifth place among adults 18-49 and a dominant No. 1 among persons 12-34 — was the second-season preem of MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”

Add in “iCarly” plus TNT’s “The Closer” and “Rizzoli and Isles” — all of which topped 6 million viewers overall — and cable more than made its mark.

Overall for the July 26-Aug. 1 sesh, Fox finished on top in adults 18-49 with a 1.6 rating/6 share, followed by ABC, CBS and Univision (all at 1.4/5), NBC (1.3/4) and top cabler USA (0.9/3).

CBS prevailed for a second straight week in adults 25-54 (1.9/6) and for a sixth consecutive time in total viewers (6 million to 4.9 million for runner-up ABC).

Looking at the week in cable, “True Blood,” in which the lead character of Sookie (Anna Paquin) had a near-death experience, grew to a 3.0 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 while drawing a summer-best 5.24 million viewers overall.

And over at MTV, Snooki, the Situation and the rest of the “Jersey Shore” gang relocated to Miami and drew a big 2.6/8 in 18-49 while drawing 5.25 million viewers overall. It was the No. 1 program for the week in primetime among adults 18-34 (4.0/13), females 12-34 (5.4/17) and men 18-34 (3.2/12).

Also cracking the week’s top 10 primetime programs in 18-49 were cable skeins “Deadliest Catch” on Discovery (2.3/7, 4.90m) and “Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami” on E! (1.9/6, 3.46m).

Nickelodeon’s “iCarly” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 7.74m) drew more viewers than any cable program last week, and was also the top-rated scripted program on all of television for the week among those 12-34 (2.7/11).

At TNT, “Rizzoli and Isles” dipped some in its third outing (1.3/4 in 18-49, 6.55m), but again built in demos on its lead-in from “The Closer” (1.2/3, 6.75m).

Similarly at USA, newbie “Covert Affairs” dropped off in week three (1.4/4, 4.83m), but still impressed by building sharply on its lead-in from “White Collar” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.72m), which has lost some steam. Also for USA, “Burn Notice” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 5.38m) and “Royal Pains” (1.5/4, 5.07m) continue to cook Thursday.

Other notable series performers during the week included History’s “American Pickers” (1.4/4, 4.44m), MTV’s “Teen Mom” (1.5/4, 2.84) and Comedy Central’s “Tosh 2.0″ (1.4/4, 2.65m).

Sunday saw “Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami” hit series highs (1.9/6 in 18-49, 3.46m), tying for 20th among all primetime programs for the week in adults 18-49 and ranking among the top 5 in women 18-34 (3.5/10). And Discovery kicked off Shark Week by taking a bite out of the competition with “Ultimate Air Jaws” (1.6/5, 3.55m).

On the same night, AMC launched “Rubicon” to a solid 2 million viewers Sunday, making it the net’s most-watched series preem to date. It was followed by “Mad Men,” which drew 2.47 million with its second seg of the season.

On the broadcast side last week, Fox’s demo victory was paced by Tuesday’s culinary combo of “Hell’s Kitchen” (2.9/10 in 18-49, 6.40m) and “Masterchef” (2.7/8, 5.75m), with the latter logging the top demo score for any series preem this summer.

CBS was led by a repeat of “The Big Bang Theory” (2.6/7, 8.32m) and Sunday’s seg of “Big Brother” (2.5/8, 7.11m). Through its first month, “Brother” is tracking 9% of last year in adults 18-49 rating (2.5 vs. 2.3) and 7% better in total viewers (7.13 million vs. 6.69 million).

“The Bachelorette” rated highest for ABC (2.9/9, 8.87m), which also saw firstrun Thursday drama “Rookie Blue” on the rise (1.8/6, 6.71m).

NBC was paced as usual by “America’s Got Talent,” although it hit a summer low for Tuesday’s performance edition (2.6/8, 9.69m).

And CW’s summer slumber continued as alternative series “Plain Jane” drew weak numbers for its premiere on Wednesday (0.4/1 in 18-49, 0.99m).

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more