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, August 30. I'm putting all shows that just started a season (in other words, weren't on last month's guide) in blue.
With so many shows in the summer editions, I'm splitting this into two parts to try to make it somewhat feasible to get through each part in one sitting. HERE'S PART ONE FROM YESTERDAY.
Major Crimes: The new anchor of TNT Monday is a Closer spin-off called Major Crimes. It got a preview after The Closer's huge finale and hit 7.18 million viewers and a 1.2 demo on August 13. Since then, it's settled into the 9:00 slot at more of a 0.9 to 1.0 level, which was typical of The Closer earlier in the summer if not even a little lower. Through three episodes, it's averaging a 1.01 demo.
Perception: The transition from a Closer lead-in to a Major Crimes lead-in hasn't meant a thing in either direction for Perception, which hit a 0.7 demo in its last two post-Closer eps and a 0.7 demo in its first two post-Major Crimes eps. It's skewing quite old and doing pretty mediocre numbers, but TNT's already announced a season two renewal. The average is now a 0.77 demo through seven episodes.
WWE Raw: USA's wrestling franchise had its first full month of three-hour telecasts. While it was down from 1000th episode-fueled July, it still managed a 1.58 demo average for the month. That was also down from the 1.7 to 1.8 average of a year ago, but it's closer to even when you just compare the 9:00 and 10:00 hours.
Covert Affairs: It's hard to believe that two years ago this show was a big cable hit and averaging nearly a 1.6 demo. Two summers of 20%+ drops later, Covert Affairs is now lucky when it can even hit a 1.0, and it's continued to sputter through August. It's now averaging just a 0.86 demo through seven episodes, down a disheartening 29% year-to-year. Covert Affairs is airing its full season just about straight through this year, though it takes a three-week hiatus at the beginning of the traditional broadcast season.
Royal Pains: But the biggest droppers on the USA schedule have been on Wednesday. Royal Pains had an up and down August, but it ended up with the same 1.01 average it took into the month, and that remains down by 31% from the 1.46 average it managed last summer! The good news is that USA is airing the whole Royal Pains season in the summer, so it at least won't have to deal with the typical huge drops in the winter months.
Political Animals: Despite a big bundle of critical acclaim, USA's "limited series event" Political Animals was a ratings disappointment, averaging just a 0.47 demo for its six-episode run. It did perk back up to near premiere numbers with a 0.52 demo on finale night. As I've said before, that's well behind their other dramas, even Friday ones like Common Law. I'd usually say that means there's no shot at another season, but I don't want to write off the possibility completely. Maybe USA will look at this show as an acclaimed brand-enhancer with an upscale audience; The Good Wife has survived in a similar role for many years on CBS.
Here's the link to part one, covering shows on A&E, ABC Family, AMC, Comedy Central, FX, HBO, Lifetime, MTV and Syfy.
For more, check out the previous cable guides here at SpoilerTV:
July part 1 | July part 2
September/October | November | December | January | February | March | April | May | June part 1 | June part 2
For more in-depth TV ratings coverage every day, check out my blog at SpottedRatings.com or follow me on Twitter: @spotupj.