As cable’s high season for originals heats up, Turner’s TNT and NBC Universal’s USA are battling it out in the ratings.
The Closer, the second of three major original offerings from TNT this summer, earned a 4.8 household rating for its 9 p.m. series debut, the highest rated basic-cable original scripted series telecast ever, according to Nielsen Media Research.
The Kyra Sedgwick-starring detective drama, which aired commercial-free courtesy of Audi, beat out USA’s sci-fi themed The 4400 for the title, which held the record at a 4.6 rating when it bowed as a mini-series last July.
The 4400, however, still holds top honors for total viewers on a cable scripted series – it averaged 7.4 million for last season’s two-hour debut while last night’s hour-long Closer pulled in 7.03 million.
This year, back as a full series, The 4400 continues to perform well.
In its second hour-long episode last week, it drew 4.38 million total viewers Sunday at 9 p.m. The network’s fourth-season premiere of psychic thriller, The Dead Zone, which followed 4400 at 10 p.m., pulled in a healthy 3.45 million total viewers.
The two USA shows ranked as top two cable originals with 18-49-year-olds for the week ending June 12 – 2.54 million for The 4400 and 1.89 million for Dead Zone (Closer aired June 13).
But TNT, which also has original crime drama Wanted coming next month, still averaged the most total viewers in prime for the week – 3.75 million, followed by USA’s 2.32 million.
That was thanks to the start of the Turner network’s six-week limited series, Into the West, which earned 6.47 million total viewers in its two-hour premiere Friday night.
That made it the second most viewed show of the week behind only the network’s June 6 Pistons/Heat game.