MTV Awards, USA Top Cable Prime

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MTV’s Video Music Awards sizzled in Miami last Sunday night, but the audience was smaller than in recent years.

The Aug. 29 awards show attracted 10.3 million viewers, good enough to be the most-watched ad-supported cable program in August. Back in 2003, though, the VMAs nabbed 10.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen, and the 2002 show grabbed the events’ largest audience ever, 11.95 million viewers.

While MTV boasts August’s highest-rated program, USA Network reigned as the month’s most-watched network aided by top-five shows, limited series, The 4,400, and dramedy Monk.

USA averaged 2.595 million viewers in prime, up 35% from a year ago. TNT turned in a second-place performance, with an average 2.258 million viewers, but that is a 10% decline from Aug. 2003. Rounding out the top five were Cartoon Network (1.868 million viewers, flat compared to a year ago); Lifetime (1.811 million viewers, down 4%); and Nick at Nite (1.802 million viewers).

Networks with big gains in August included Fox News Channel (1.583 million viewers, up 26%); FX (1.3 million viewers, up 27%); ABC Family (1.020 million viewers, up 26%); and Comedy Central (982,000 viewers, up 32%).

Other channels were not so fortunate. TLC’s viewership plunged 36%, to 752,000 viewers, and MTV was off 17% to 1.057 million viewers. Animal Planet, Bravo and VH1 each slipped 18% to around 500,000 viewers apiece.

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