ABC Family’s ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Tops Cable in Return; FX’s ‘Fargo’ Rises Ahead of Finale

ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” was down from last year but remains a ratings force as it kicks off season five, with Tuesday’s return leading the night in its target younger demos while also helping launch new drama launch “Chasing Life” to credible premiere numbers.

Also of note on Tuesday in cable were a second straight week of growth for FX’s “Fargo” heading into its season finale, and more strong numbers for Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch.” And on a newsy primary election night, Fox News Channel crushed its rivals.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Pretty Little Liars” averaged a 1.1 rating/4 share in adults 18-49 and 2.72 million viewers overall in the 8 o’clock hour — down 13% and 8% respectively from its season four premiere. Still, it was No. 1 among scripted series on all of television Tuesday in women 18-34 (2.8 rating, or 935,000 viewers) and viewers 12-34 (3.5 rating, or 1.8 million viewers) and as cable’s No. 1 telecast of the night in adults 18-34 (1.6 rating, or 1.1 million) and 18-49 (tied with “Deadliest Catch”).

Based on full-week DVR viewing during its most recent season, “Pretty Little Liars,” which earlier this week was renewed for two more seasons, adds nearly 1.3 million total viewers in Live+7 (jumping from 2.4 million to 3.7 million).

Of course, “Liars” also remains a social media powerhouse, as Tuesday’s premiere was TV’s most tweeted series on the night, according to Social Guide/Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings. Amassing 1.05 million tweets, it ranks fourth among all scripted series telecasts year to date — behind only two other episodes of the show and the winter premiere of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

Following “Pretty Little Liars,” the series opener of “Chasing Life” averaged a 0.53 rating in adults 18-49, a 0.71 in adults 18-34 and 1.35 million viewers overall. It retained about half of its lead-in in most demos, outdelivering last summer’s launch of “The Fosters” in key demos, including adults 18-34 (478,000 vs. 445,000) and females 12-34 (728,000 vs. 636,000).

At FX, “Fargo” heads into next week’s first-season finale with some momentum, averaging a 0.64 rating in adults 18-49 and 1.902 million viewers overall — its second straight week of total-viewer gains and the show’s largest audience since its second episode, on April 22.  It was the No. 3 scripted cable original on Tuesday in 18-49, behind “Pretty Little Liars” and OWN’s “The Haves and the Have Nots.”

In the most recent Live+7 DVR data, the May 20 episode of “Fargo” surged by more than 90% from its same-night averages in both 18-49 (from 0.65 to 1.24) and total viewers (from 1.80 million to 3.51 million).

Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.07 million viewers overall) was above the 3-million viewer mark for a second straight week, standing as cable’s No. 1 show in 18-49 (tied with “Pretty Little Liars”), men 18-49 (1.4/5), men 25-54 (2.1/7) and total viewers. This was the seventh straight Tuesday that “Catch” has been the top cable series in men 25-54.

On a night with breaking election news of House Majority Eric Cantor’s unprecedented defeat in the Virginia Primary, Fox News Channel averaged 2.14 million viewers in primetime — double the combined tallies of MSNBC (705,000) and CNN (359,000). FNC also beat its rivals combined in adults 25-54 (375,000 to 159,000 for MSNBC and 113,000 for CNN).

With its special coverage from 8:14 p.m. (when the news broke) to 9 p.m., FNC averaged a big 2.78 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

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