Thanks to their potent combinations of original series and acquisitions, both USA Network and Turner Network Television are sizzling this summer.
USA attracted an average 2.56 million viewers in prime for July, according to Nielsen data, and TNT pulled in 2.55 million viewers. Since its July 18 premiere, three episodes of USA’s hit limited series 4400 have each attracted more than 5 million viewers; the debut nabbed a stunning 7.4 million. TNT’s new counterterrorism limited series The Grid grabbed 4.52 million viewers at its July 19 premiere.
The month’s most-watched cable show, though, belonged to ESPN. The Major League Baseball Home Run Derby, part of All-Star Weekend, scored 7.7 million viewers. ESPN finished the month averaging 1.5 million viewers in prime.
Following USA and TNT in the top five: Disney Channel (2.05 million viewers), Lifetime (1.67 million); and TBS (1.65 million). Sci Fi Channel and FX–both of which are enjoying original hits this summer–scored impressive ratings. FX averaged 1.34 million viewers in July, boosted by popular plastic-surgery drama Nip/Tuck and newcomer Rescue Me. Sci Fi’s Friday-night originals, Stargate SG-1 and spinoff Stargate Atlantis, helped the network pull in an average 1.33 million viewers.
Over all, of 56 Nielsen-rated networks, 17 cable networks averaged more than 1 million viewers in prime.