‘Moby’ mops up

High-rated USA mini harpoons CBS, NBC

The USA Network’s highly promoted two-parter “Moby Dick” has hooked huge Nielsens by cable standards, the second-highest rating and highest-ever number of total viewers for a non-sports, non-news made-for-basic-cable program.

“Moby” also made history Monday by nearly taking second place nationally in adults 18-49, beating CBS and NBC and almost overtaking ABC for the slot’s runner-up spot behind Fox.

With its Sunday and Monday episodes, “Moby” achieved a household average of an 8.1 rating, 12 share in the 75% of the country’s TV homes that USA reaches (which translates to a 6.1/9 nationally). That puts it second all-time to the 8.4 rating of USA’s 1990 made-for-cable pic “China Lake Murders” among original basic-cable entertainment programs.

With the increase in both the general population and USA’s penetration since 1990, “Moby’s” average of roughly 11 million viewers and 5.9 million households have both topped “China” and are regarded by USA as all-time records for non-news, non-sports made-for-basic programming.

Even counted against the entire country, Monday’s “Moby, Part 2” nearly finished second for its slot in adults 18-49. “Moby’s” 4.4 rating, 11 share harpooned the CBS lineup’s 8-10 p.m. programming (3.3/8) and even sunk NBC’s 4.2/10, but fell just short of ABC’s 4.5/11. Fox led the period with a 7.5/18 average.

Sunday’s “Moby, Part 1” also made waves, finishing within 2 shares in adults 18-49 of ABC’s “Waterworld,” NBC’s “The Client” and CBS’ “A Father for Brittany,” and topping ABC’s “Disney” kidpic “Mr. Headmistress” by 4 shares.

“Moby” starred Patrick Stewart. Robert Halmi Sr. and Francis Ford Coppola served as exec producers.

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