Vince McMahon may have suffered the humiliation of getting his head shaved on a pay-per-view special by Donald Trump, but look at the bright side: Six of the 10 highest-rated programs on ad-supported cable in the first quarter were hourlong editions of McMahon’s “WWE Raw” series on USA.
“WWE Raw” is consistently the second highest-rated regularly scheduled series on cable TV, behind ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” and wrestling has propelled USA into privileged status as the No. 1-rated cable network in primetime during the first quarter, not only in total viewers but in all three of the key adult demos: 18-49, 18-34 and 25-54.
The other mega-rated cable programs in the first quarter were the Disney Channel movie “Jump In” and an episode of the network’s “Cory in the House,” the NBA All-Star Game on TNT, six firstrun “Monk” episodes on USA, the annual “Kids Choice Awards” on Nickelodeon and one-hour editions of Discovery’s “Planet Earth” docu miniseries.
Although it finished second to USA in total viewers, TNT fell off by 13% from the first quarter of 2006.
The ad-supported networks that shot up by double digits among total viewers in primetime for the first quarter, in order of their ranking, are A&E (up 54%), Discovery (up 23%), Court TV (up 31%), Hallmark Channel (up 14%), AMC (up 25%), HGTV (up 13%) and TLC (up 15%).
Also, VH1 (up 16%), CNN (up 10%), Bravo (up 16%), MSNBC (up 40%), Travel Channel (up 14%), National Geographic Channel (up 50%) and CNN Headline News (up 17%).
And Soap Net (up 33%), Oxygen (up 25%), CNBC (up 82%), Golf Channel (up 89%), Discovery Science (up 35%), Biography Channel (up 48%), Noggin (up 18%) and G4 (up 30%).
Plus, ESPN Classic (up 70%), Nicktoons (up 44%), History Intl. (up 128%), Style (up 49%), Military Channel (up 50%), BBC America (up 11%), Fuse (up 36%).
In addition to TNT, six networks plunged by double digits in first-quarter primetime, encompassing (also in order of ranking) Cartoon Network (down 13%), Nick at Nite (down 18%), ESPN (down 31%), TV Land (down 10%), BET (down 13%) and Discovery Health (down 11%).