Trial spikes HLN’s ratings

It's week's No. 1 news net in key demos; NBC wins overall

NBC dominated the ratings leaderboard last week, as “America’s Got Talent” and the finale of “The Voice” pumped up the Peacock’s primetime.

And while NBC will be sad to see hot newcomer “The Voice” exit its airwaves, news cabler HLN is also probably crushed to see the Casey Anthony case come to a conclusion. Its Nancy Grace-led coverage of the murder trial lifted the net to a rare first-place finish among the news cablers in adults 25-54, as its average audience in that age group last week (441,000) was larger than usual leader Fox News (371,000) and was more than the combined tune-in for MSNBC (221,000) and CNN (151,000), according to Nielsen.

Fox still led in total viewers among the newsies in primetime last week (1.59 million to rank fifth among all cablers), but HLN vaulted to sixth (1.49 million), ahead of the likes of FX, ESPN and A&E.

And on Tuesday of this week, the reading of the Anthony verdict on HLN drew more than 5.2 million viewers for the 2:15 p.m. ET quarter hour — well ahead of any other cable network.

HLN’s dominance then continued into primetime Tuesday, where it logged its top-rated night among adults 25-54 (926,000) since the start of the Iraq War in March 2003 and its top night in total viewers (2.5 million) since 9/11.

Looking at the numbers for the week of June 27-July 3, NBC led in adults 18-49 with a 1.6 rating/6 share, followed by ABC (1.3/4), Fox and Univision (1.2/4), CBS (1.0/3) and top cabler (0.9/3). The Peacock also led rather easily in adults 25-54 (2.0/6) and edged out CBS in total viewers (5.75 million to 5.49 million).

This marks the first time since the Winter Olympics in February 2010 that NBC has won three straight weeks in both 18-49 and total viewers.

The week overall, meanwhile, limped to a predictably low-rated conclusion, as the frame’s top draws aired early, before auds began prepping for the July Fourth holiday.

NBC’s two-hour Tuesday performance seg of “The Voice” ranked No. 1 for the week in adults 18-49 (4.4/13), while the next night’s finale ranked lower in rating (3.7/13) but was third for the frame. The net’s “America’s Got Talent” also occupied two slots in the top 5 in 18-49 (4.1/12 on Wednesday and 3.3/11 on Tuesday) and Wednesday’s seg drew more total viewers than any primetime telecast for the week (13.71 million).

Rest of the week’s top 15 programs in adults 18-49 were of the unscripted variety, including ABC’s “The Bachelorette” (2.6/8 in 18-49, 8.27m), NBC’s new “Love in the Wild” (2.2/6, 6.48m) and Fox’s “MasterChef” (2.1/6, 5.13m).

USA led in cable behind “WWE Raw” (1.7/5, 5.03m) and dramas including Wednesday newbie “Necessary Roughness” (1.4/4, 4.67m), which virtually matched its “Royal Pains” lead-in (1.4/4, 5.00m).

While some Sunday cable programs took the week off, HBO’s “True Blood” didn’t (1.5/5, 2.90m), and came in considerably lower than its premiere of the previous week. Holding up better was TNT’s “Falling Skies” (1.4/5, 4.07m), which dipped only slightly week to week.

Also of note in cable, the season finale of Discovery’s “Dual Survival” drew 1.64 million viewers Friday and helped the net stand as primetime’s No. 1 cable net for the night in men 18-49. And FX’s comedy “Wilfred” held up well in its second outing (1.0/3, 2.04m), standing as the No. 1 scripted cable show Thursday in men 18-49 (1.3/4).

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