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May 2012 Cable Ratings Guide

I'm back with another monthly look at the cable TV landscape! As always, I'll note that I mostly traffic in adults 18-49 ratings below. (That's always what I mean by "demo.") However, these should be taken with some grain of salt. I use A18-49 ratings because of availability and because they're a reasonable way of making comparisons across networks, but be advised that it is not necessarily the be-all-end-all number it is on broadcast. Not all of these networks target that demographic specifically. In this edition, all these numbers are up to date through Thursday, May 31. Starting this month, I'm putting all shows that just started a season (in other words, weren't on last month's guide) in blue.

May is one of the slowest months of the cable year, as the networks tend to avoid all the finales on the broadcast networks, so we have just 24 shows this time. I promise the June edition will be much more interesting! As always, lemme know if there's something not covered here that you'd like updated!

For more, check out the previous cable guides here at SpoilerTV:
September/October | November | December | January | February | March | April
 



The Secret Life of the American Teenager (ABC Family): The problems continue for what was once ABC Family's flagship show, as it dropped all the way to a measly 0.5 demo on May 21 and never got higher than 0.7 in May. Last week, it actually got beat out by fellow ABC Family original Melissa & Joey, a program that was once much weaker. Its 0.72 average through ten episodes this spring is down 21% from last year's first ten.

Make It Or Break It (ABC Family): As Secret Life has gone, so has gone its long-time leadout MIOBI, which wrapped up its final season with just a 0.47 average, down by 26% from the previous season.

Melissa & Joey (ABC Family): The only good news on the ABC Family front of late has been the surprisingly solid start for season three of Melissa & Joey. The show picked up a 0.7 demo in each episode of its one-hour premiere, which was substantially up from the 0.6 and 0.4 of the first two weeks of last summer.



Mad Men (AMC): Every year, the Mad Men premiere numbers get bigger, and those numbers then translate to a stronger level when the show settles down after taking a post-premiere drop. This year, though, the show's huge growth in the opening few weeks is not really carrying over. The first five episodes were each up more than 20% year-to-year, but in early May the show was just barely up, and then the last two weeks (0.6 demo on May 20 and May 27) were actually slightly down. Ultimately, those early episodes have ensured this is gonna be an up season for Mad Men; its 0.89 average is still up by 22% from the first eleven of last season. But it is stumbling by a surprising amount over the course of the season.

The Killing (AMC): And the struggles have persisted for AMC's other Sunday night drama, whose 0.48 average is still down by 21% from last season. In May, the show actually hit the dreaded 0.3 threshold on a couple occasions (May 6 and May 27), which is getting into the same territory as Rubicon (the only drama AMC has cancelled).



The Game (BET): In May, The Game stabilized between a 1.0 and 1.1 demo, continuing to drag the season average down. The 2.8 demo for the season premiere back in January feels like a long time ago. The 1.41 average is now down 39% year-to-year, though this season was a lot longer than the last one (meaning it had longer to fall). Still, it'll be back next year, and this season's finale is tomorrow night.

Let's Stay Together (BET): The story with this show is the same as it's been for months: like lead-in The Game, it's down, but it's also down quite a bit less than The Game. Its 0.98 average to date (more like a 0.8 lately) is down by 18% from last season's average.



Tosh.0 (Comedy Central): Last month, we picked up the tail end of Tosh.0's spring season. It didn't have much of a hiatus, as the summer season picked up last week with a 1.7 demo. That was down a tick from the 1.8 demo of summer 2011's premiere and makes it, as usual, a powerhouse among younger demos.

Workaholics (Comedy Central): Arguably the most successful show to lead out of Tosh.0 has been sitcom Workaholics, which returned to the 10:30 slot last Tuesday with a 1.3 demo. As with Tosh, that was down a tick from last year's 1.4 premiere.



Game of Thrones: What I said last month still pretty much holds true for Game of Thrones; it's the breakout show of the spring, but it still hasn't shot up into True Blood territory. It just seems to turn in a pretty reliable 1.9 or so every single week with very little movement at all. The season to date is averaging a 1.88 demo, up by 73% from last season's first nine. The finale was last night.

Veep: Another month of massive drops from the Game of Thrones lead-in and pretty mediocre overall ratings from Veep, which seemed to have leveled off at around a 0.6 demo in mid-May but then dropped to a 0.45 and a 0.42 in its last two airings. It's averaging a 0.52 thus far through six episodes.

Girls: May was a little better for Girls, which hit a series high 0.48 demo on May 13 and then had its most encouraging showing yet on May 27. Though Game of Thrones and Veep were both down (seemingly due to Memorial weekend), Girls got up to another new series high with a 0.49 and built on Veep for the first time. It's averaging a 0.42 through seven episodes.



Hatfields & McCoys (History): Though this was just a miniseries, the ratings were so notable that it deserves a big mention here. Everyone was completely stunned when the mini's premiere a week ago shattered the record for biggest non-sports audience on ad-supported cable with 13.866 million viewers. But the fact that the show held nearly all that audience on the subsequent nights is almost as impressive, and it set the record all over again on Wednesday night with 14.287 million. The show did skew fairly old, but its 18-49 delivery (an average 3.8 rating) was right up there with some of the very biggest shows on cable.



Army Wives (Lifetime): Lifetime's signature scripted show is on a short hiatus to make way for the return of Drop Dead Diva, but it returns to its old 10:00 timeslot later this month. The first batch of season six averaged a 0.96 demo, which was still good for Lifetime but down 18% from the season five average.

The Client List (Lifetime): One of the best pairs on TV has got to be Army Wives and newbie The Client List, as the two turn in almost the exact same demo audience every single week. Through seven episodes, the show is averaging an identical 0.96 demo. Season one ends on June 17, and season two has already been picked up.




Eureka: Long-running Syfy drama Eureka continues its soft-rated march toward the finish. It's averaging a 0.54 demo through six episodes, down by 23% from the first six of last season.

Lost Girl: Syfy immediately started airing season two of Canadian import Lost Girl after they finished with season one. The show has pulled almost exactly the same ratings after Eureka as after Being Human. The 0.44 average through six episodes is almost identical to the 0.45 average for the whole of season one. The 22-episode second season is slated to move to Friday in July to make way for Alphas.

WWE Friday Night Smackdown!: Syfy's wrestling franchise had a good month, as it averaged a 0.83 demo in the month of May, up a tiny bit from both its April level and its May 2011 level.



Men at Work (TBS): One of the biggest promotional pushes during TNT's NBA Playoff coverage has been for new TBS sitcom Men at Work, which started out with a 1.3 and 1.1 demo for its two-episode premiere on May 24. Last Thursday, it dropped to a 1.0. Those numbers look pretty good by TBS' relatively low standards for originals, but the show has dropped from its demo-friendly Big Bang Theory repeat lead-ins.



Hot in Cleveland (TV Land): Another month brought another wave of new lows for Hot in Cleveland, which averaged just a 0.24 demo in May (about a fifth of the numbers it premiered with two years ago). It got as low as a mere 0.17 on May 2. The 0.33 average for the season is down 33% from last season.

Happily Divorced (TV Land): Meanwhile, the Hot in Cleveland lead-out Happily Divorced continues to exhibit better retention than any other sitcom TV Land has tried there, but that becomes less and less of an accomplishment as Hot in Cleveland continues to falter. The show averaged a 0.21 demo in May, and the 0.28 average for the season is down 32% from last season.



WWE Raw: The USA Network wrestling program had a pretty bad May, averaging just a 1.55 demo. That's the show's weakest month in quite some time and noticeably down from the 1.8 or so average at this time a year ago. Still, the show is such a big relative draw for its network that USA will be permanently expanding the show to three hours starting in July.

Fairly Legal: The Friday night problems have persisted for Fairly Legal, which actually got as low as a 0.4 demo on May 11. The season as a whole is averaging a 0.59 demo, down by 36% from the season one average (which took place on Thursday).

Common Law: When USA premieres a new show on Friday night, you can question just how much faith they really have in it. But Common Law is actually off to a somewhat promising start, at least compared to what Fairly Legal is doing. The May 11 premiere built from Fairly Legal's 0.4 demo all the way up to a 0.68, and then the show grew in week two to a 0.73 demo. It's still very early in this show's run, but these look like numbers more in line with what USA is probably hoping for on Friday.


For more in-depth TV ratings coverage every day, check out my blog at SpottedRatings.com or follow me on Twitter: @spotupj.

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