‘Love Thy Neighbor’ Off to a Promising Start of Its OWN

Tyler Perry comedy has network's second best debut, behind his drama 'Haves' from Tuesday

"Love Thy Neighbor"

Tyler Perry worked some ratings magic again on Wednesday night for OWN.

One night after his new drama, “The Haves and the Have Nots,” set a network record for  a series premiere, the debut of his comedy “Love Thy Neighbor” racked up similar numbers.

Nielsen estimates that the first episode of “Love Thy Neighbor” averaged 1.65 million viewers in the 9 o’clock half-hour, and a second at 9:30 rose to 1.8 million — making it the second highest-rated series launch to date on the network, which is now in its third year.

Tuesday’s premiere of “The Haves and the Have Nots” averaged 1.77 million viewers, and a second episode an hour later drew 1.82 million. They were the top-rated programs across all of television on the night (excluding sports) among African-American women.

In demos, both episodes of the drama averaged a 0.6 national rating in adults 18-49 and a 1.2 in the network’s target aud of women 25-54.

In the four weeks prior to this week’s series launches, OWN averaged 251,000 viewers in primetime, so the new shows this week represent audiences about seven times as big.

“Love Thy Neighbor” is set at a family-run restaurant, where feisty family matriarch Hattie Mae Love (Patrice Lovely) has her hands full not only managing her customers but her family drama, too.

Quarter-to-date, OWN is up about 12% in total viewers vs. last year.