CBS’ Cane Is Able to Draw Hispanics

Cane Pounds Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in Nielsen Hispanic Station Index in New York

Cane, CBS' new drama starring Jimmy Smits as the head of a Cuban-American family with a rum and sugar empire in south Florida, is a somewhat surprisingly strong draw with Hispanic households in the nation's top market.

While the show came in behind NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Tuesday night in total viewers with 707,000 in New York versus 782,000 for SVU, in the Nielsen Hispanic Station Index, Cane averaged 112,000 viewers to only 37,000 for SVU in its 10 p.m.-11 p.m. time period (the winner among Hispanics was WXTV's Sexo y Otro Secretos with 216,000).

The NHSI is made up of Hispanic households, both English- and non-English-speaking.

But why is Cane's popularity a surprise given the 4 million or so Hispanics in the city and the high-profile Hispanic cast, including Jimmy Smits, Hector Elizando and Rita Moreno?

"Our experience with programs like George Lopez and other English-language programs starring Hispanic personalities has been that they don't skew ethnically more Hispanic that other English-language primetime shows," said one veteran local-station ratings cruncher in the Big Apple. "This appears to be an exception."