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Summer Ratings Not a 'Dead Zone'

(Posted June 21, 2005 by Seapharris7)

Summer Ratings Not a 'Dead Zone'

For the first three weeks of the summer, cable has matched its all-time high share levels among adults 18-49, 25-54 and households.
   Most significantly, ratings are up 5 to 6 percent in the major demographics compared with last year while the seven broadcast networks are down 4 to 10 percent.

   The broadcast networks are averaging an 11.2 18-49 rating from May 26 to June 19, down 5.8 percent from last year’s 11.8, according to primetime cumulative ratings provided by the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau. Basic cable is up 5.4 percent to a 15.7 rating from a 14.9.

   It’s up 5 percent to a 17.2 in 25-54s while broadcast has dipped 3.8 percent to a 12.6.

   But the biggest swing is among 18-34s, where cable is up 6 percent to a 14.0 and broadcast is down 10.3 percent to a 9.4.

   CAB won’t know for sure if last week set a record until it gets full numbers from Nielsen on June 28. But with TNT, FX and USA all boasting at least two big performers last week, it’s safe to assume there will be several records.

   TNT’s “The Closer” set a total viewers record for an original cable series and also ranked No. 1 for the week among 18-49s and 25-54s. The network’s “Into the West,” while falling off quite a bit from its premiere, still averaged a healthy 4.8 million total viewers and placed eighth among 25-54s.

   USA’s “The 4400” and “Dead Zone” both made the top 10 among 18-49s and 25-54s, while FX’s “The Shield” finale matched its best 18-49s performance of the season. FX also got a decent premiere from the new reality show “30 Days,” which placed No. 34 among 18-49s.

   Other shows at or near record performances last week included WE’s “Bridezillas,” Comedy Central’s “Reno 911!” and Adult Swim’s “Family Guy.”

   According to CAB, summer cable viewership usually peaks in July. But with so many premieres and finales coming this month, it will be interesting to see if cable can top this early peak. It may be difficult, as interest in the new shows is already leveling off and programs like “The Shield” will be over.


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