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TNT schools competish

'Clark' clicks on cable

TNT taught its rivals a lesson or two Sunday night with a strong showing for Matthew Perry-fronted teacher telepic “The Ron Clark Story.”

One of the best cable performers of the summer in key young-adult demos, “Ron Clark” averaged 6.81 million viewers overall for its premiere and then pulled in 3.46 million more for its second airing immediately afterward.

Pic beat ABC’s repeats in the time period and was on par with CBS and Fox programming from 8 to 10 in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen, averaging a 2.2 rating/6 share.

In the key demo, “Ron Clark” is cable’s top-rated original movie of 2006, outperforming Lifetime’s “A Girl Like Me” (1.9/5) and AMC’s “Broken Trail” (1.7/5), both from June.

Ratings is also higher than that for any episode of any scripted cable series this summer.

“Ron Clark,” produced by Granada America and Magna Global Entertainment, is the latest success for the “Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentation.” Franchise previously scored with pics “The Wool Cap” and “Door to Door.”

Well-reviewed movie starred Perry as an idealistic young teacher who uses innovative techniques to help the students at a New York City public school.

TNT ranked seventh for the week among all networks in adults 18-49 (0.9 rating/3 share), placing a close second in cable behind USA (1.0/3) but beating lame-duck broadcast laggards UPN (0.8/2) and the WB (0.7/2).

It was another close battle at the broadcast webs, with CBS (2.2/7) and NBC tying for the frame’s 18-49 lead and Fox (2.1/7) close behind. Each of these nets benefited from preseason football, while ABC — out of the pro pigskin game for the first time in more than 35 years — was competitive without football but remained fourth (1.8/6), with Univision fifth (1.4/4).

CBS edged out NBC for the week’s lead in adults 25-54 (2.7/8 to 2.6/7) and remained undefeated for summer in total viewers, averaging 7.3 million to 6.6 million for second-place NBC. Fox led as usual in people 12-34 (1.9/7 to 1.6/6 for runner-up NBC).

Fox’s hot unscripted skeins “Hell’s Kitchen” (3.9/11 in 18-49, 8.13m) and “So You Think You Can Dance” (3.9/11, 10.10m) were the week’s top telecasts in adults 18-49. Net’s highest-rated scripted show was a repeat of Sunday laffer “Family Guy” (2.6/7, 5.57m).

For the summer, Fox remains the net leader in adults 18-49 over NBC (2.3/8 to 2.2/7), with both webs up vs. their perf of a year ago.

The Peacock was paced by preseason “Sunday Night Football” (3.2/10 in 18-49, 8.74m for Washington Redskins-Cincinnati Bengals) and Wednesday’s edition of “America’s Got Talent” (3.2/9, 9.67m).

“Last Comic Standing,” shifted to Wednesday for its finale, won its timeslot in key demos (2.8/9, 7.65m) but was below its Tuesday average.

CBS, the summer leader in adults 25-54, was paced last week by “CSI: Miami” (3.5/10 in 18-49, 11.42m), which has assumed the No. 1 drama-repeat ranking for summer after the original “CSI” was on top a year ago.

Sunday’s “Big Brother: All Stars” set a season high (2.5/8, 7.30m) and the show led its timeslot on both Tuesday and Thursday.

ABC could thank its news department for keeping the lights on during another quiet frame, paced by Thursday’s “Primetime” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 8.36m), which covered the day’s news from London of a foiled terrorism plot. Net also was competitive Wednesday with a “Primetime: Medical Mysteries” spec (2.4/7, 7.34m) and led Friday at 10 with “20/20” (2.3/8, 7.46m).

Cable highlights included network series highs for A&E’s “Dog the Bounty Hunter” on Tuesday (2.0/6 in 18-49, 4.49m). Among scripted firstrun series, TNT’s “The Closer” (1.6/4) and USA’s “Monk” and “Psych” (1.5/4 each) led the way.

“The Closer” was cable’s top series in 25-54 for the week (2.2/6), teaming with “Ron Clark” to lift TNT to the week’s cable lead in the demo (1.1/3).

E! had one of its strongest showings of the year Sunday at 10 with the season finale of “The Simple Life: ‘Til Death Do Us Part” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 1.76m), which pulled a 1.6/5 in women 18-34. Not looking so hot was ABC Family’s second week of “Three Moons Over Milford,” which mustered just 806,000 viewers Sunday night.

And outside primetime, SoapNet’s unscripted contest “I Want to Be a Soap Star” hit a series high (406,000 viewers) with its third-season finale Thursday night at 11.

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