‘Payne’ premiere sets sitcom record

Second half-hour scores 5.8 million viewers

The debut of TBS’ “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” on Wednesday night chalked up a sitcom ratings record for ad-supported cable.

The first half-hour of “Payne” at 9 o’clock scored 5.2 million viewers, and the 9:30 seg fetched a record 5.8 million.

The second half-hour’s performance also earned ad-supported cable records in adults 18-34 (1.4 million), 18-49 (3.06 million) and 25-54 (2.985 million) as well as in households (3.33 million). In adults 18-49, “Payne” beat programming on NBC and CBS.

TBS has “Payne” exclusively until fall 2008, when it will have to share the comedy with TV stations throughout the country that have prebought the series and will play it at least five times a week.

Show centers on a curmudgeonly fire chief who presides over a multigenerational household.

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