Premieres boost cable nets

Showtime, Court TV pull in big numbers with new original fare

Say what you will, murder and sexuality make for popular television. Showtime's debut of Queer as Folk
doubled the network's prime time average rating, and Court TV's new reality series about life in a homicide unit delivered a record number of households on its first night out.

The Sunday-night Showtime debut of Queer,
the serial drama about gay life in Pittsburgh, pulled in a 4.5 rating with a little over 1 million households. That's the highest rating of any series premiere on the network in three years. It will continue to occupy the Sunday 10 p.m. spot.

On Court, the first of three consecutive episodes of Brooklyn North Homicide Squad
premiered Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 10 p.m. to a 1.1/528,000 households. Brooklyn
set a record for Tuesday nights and delivered the most households ever for Court.

Homicide Squad
will be run as a series of docu-specials, the first three having run on consecutive nights last week. The next premieres will come in late March or early April, and, depending on ratings, the show may travel to different units throughout the country, a Court spokeswoman said.