‘Monk’ bow skunks USA’s competish

Episode registered as skein's highest-rated yet

“Monk” sleuthed record-high ratings for USA in its season-three premiere Friday.

Bow registered as the night’s top program on basic cable and the series’ highest-rated episode yet.

The 10 p.m. premiere of “Monk” delivered 6 million total viewers to the network and posted a 2.4 rating in the 18-49 category and a 3.2 in 25-54 — up 14% in both demos from the show’s second-season bow.

Tony Shalhoub-toplined dramedy beat CBS’ “The Handler” in the 25-54 demo and tied it in 18-49.

Premiere stands as basic cable’s most watched episode of an original drama since the 2002 launch of USA’s “The Dead Zone.”

ABC has begun re-airing second-season episodes Saturdays at 10 p.m.

“Monk” received three Golden Globes this year, for comedy series and stars Shalhoub and Bitty Schram.

Mandeville Films and Touchstone TV produce the show, exec produced by Andy Breckman, David Hoberman and Shalhoub.

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