USA Network series debut off 15% in total viewers

USA Network staple “White Collar” took a hit Tuesday night in its premiere episode for the second half of season three.

Skein, starring Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay, drew 3.2 million total viewers. That was good enough to just edge past FX’s “Justified” in the same 10 p.m. timeslot, but it was down 600,000 viewers, or about 15%, from a year ago.

In the 18-49 demo, the episode scored 1.4 million viewers, down from the 1.6 million viewers from last January.

Also competing in the same timeslot Tuesday was TNT cop drama “Southland” as well as new episodes of NBC’s “Parenthood” and ABC’s “Body of Proof.” CBS aired a repeat of “Unforgettable.”

As is the case for all cable series, numbers for “White Collar” will increase during the week when multiple telecasts and DVR viewing is accounted for.

The first half of the third season of “White Collar” aired during the summer. USA Network, with an ever-expanding lineup of original shows, is considering not breaking up seasons as it has often done in the past.

Series, from Fox Television Studios, was created by Jeff Eastin, who exec produces with Mark Goffman.

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