TBS' new comedy House of Payne burst out of the gate Wednesday night (June 6), averaging a record-breaking 5.2 million and 5.8 million viewers, respectively, with back-to-back episodes at 9:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., according to early data from Nielsen Media Research. The episodes were the most-viewed sitcom telecasts ever on ad-supported cable.
The family-focused show, created, directed and produced by film star Tyler Perry, also broke the most-viewed sitcom record in all key demos, with the two half-hour episodes drawing 2.7 million and 3.1 million adults 18-49, respectively. Its second episode also drew significantly more viewers than its first, always a positive sign for networks as they gauge viewer interest.
Payne far outperformed TBS' primetime average - 1.4 million viewers in May - and did better than all other ad-supported cable original premieres so far this summer, including USA's limited series The Starter Wife and Lifetime's original drama Army Wives.
Turner-owned TBS bought the first-run syndicated sitcom from Debmar-Mercury last summer in a deal that gave it access to 100 full-produced episodes. TBS has exclusive rights to the show until September 2008, when it can launch in broadcast syndication.