HBO learns to Cher, share alike

Concert attracts viewers despite competition

HBO has discovered that rating and Cher go together.

The pop diva’s aggressively promoted comeback concert Sunday night belted out a rousing 3.9 rating/6 share in households nationally and a 13.0/18 in HBO’s 30 million homes, making it the week’s highest-rated cable program when ranked according to that HBO-homes result.

With HBO available in just 30% of the country’s TV households, though, the concert’s national results were somewhat smaller. Still, “Cher Live in Concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas” earned cable’s third-highest national rating for the week, edged out only by a pair of USA Network wrestling shows that were available in more than twice as many homes.

In adults 18-49, “Cher” attracted a 3.1/8 nationally and a 9.0/20 in HBO homes, both number one for the week in cable. Nationally, the concert virtually equalled Sunday’s slot competitors on NBC (3.2/8) and CBS (3.1/8), which were available in more than three times as many homes.

Stiff competition

And “Cher” did it against the toughest Sunday competition the nets have posed all summer, including ABC’s top-rated “Millionaire” and Fox’s highest-scoring NFL preseason football telecast ever.

The second-highest-rated pay-cablecast of the Aug. 23-29 week was HBO’s “Sex in the City” (3.0/5 in homes nationally, 9.9/14 in HBO homes), which enjoyed a big ratings boost from its “Cher” lead-in.