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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.



Sullivan & Son (TBS): The ratings for TBS' second stab at a Thursday night sitcom actually perked up a bit in August. At a 0.89, the average is now less than a tenth off of the Men At Work pace of 0.98 from earlier in the summer. However, it's still dropping from its 9:30 The Big Bang Theory rerun lead-in. But apparently the tenth of a rating point difference was offset by the fact that this show didn't get all the NBA playoffs promotion that Men At Work got, as TBS gave it a second season just yesterday.
 
For Better or Worse (TBS): The latest Tyler Perry show on TBS dropped off a good bit in August, settling down at a 0.5 to 0.6 level. It's now averaging a decent-for-Friday 0.67 demo for this summer run.



The Closer: For most of The Closer's final run this summer, the iconic TNT program was actually one of the weakest 9:00 anchors on its network in terms of the younger demos. (Though it still had a large overall audience.) But the finale on August 13 brought a ton of old fans back, spiking to 9.075 million viewers and a 1.6 demo rating. Those numbers were up 50%+ from the averages earlier in the summer, and the show hadn't hit a 1.6 since 2009! It left the season with a 1.08 average overall, still down by 9% from last summer.

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.

Rizzoli & Isles: The successful debut Tuesday season for Rizzoli & Isles took a big downturn against the Olympics on July 31, but it made up for it in the August 14 finale, vaulting to season highs with over 6 million viewers and a 1.3 demo. It all added up to a 1.09 demo average, which was just 11% below its average from last summer (when it was still on Mondays after The Closer).

Franklin & Bash: The TNT legal dramedy also had a nice spike for its August 14 finale, wrapping up a season that averaged a 0.78 demo overall. That was down by 8% from last summer even though the show got a much better lead-in with Rizzoli & Isles. There's no decision on a season three yet, and I'm not really sure what to expect.

Dallas: Dallas was yet another TNT show that seemed to be fading down the stretch but then got some major redemption in the finale. The show lost demo audience for six straight weeks after the premiere, dropping as low as a 0.75 demo, but it perked up a bit for the penultimate episode and then had a huge spike to a 1.3 demo for the August 8 finale. That represented the biggest demo audience since the premiere and certainly brightens the outlook for this show going into season two (which premieres in early 2013). The season as a whole averaged a 1.11 demo.

Leverage: It wasn't always easy for Leverage airing in the 8:00 timeslot; through six episodes, the show is still averaging just a 0.73 demo and is down 19% from last summer. But the end of the Falling Skies season meant Leverage could reclaim its old 9:00 slot. At least in its August 26 timeslot debut, that seemed to help; it spiked from a 0.66 on the 19th up to a 0.81. We'll see if the 9:00 turnaround continues in subsequent weeks.

Falling Skies: The TNT sci-fi drama ended up having an incredibly consistent second season. It premiered to a 1.5 on June 17, dropped from there to a 1.3, but then stayed in the 1.2/1.3 demo pretty much the rest of the way and only built a bit (to a 1.38) on its August 19 finale night. The 1.29 demo average made it TNT's biggest 18-49 draw by a pretty decent margin, but it was still down 21% from last summer. It's been renewed.

The Great Escape: TNT's Amazing Race-esque reality show kind of hung in there with an 0.5ish rating for awhile, even though that represented a drop of well over half from its Falling Skies lead-in. But the departure of Skies meant bad times for Escape, as it plunged to a series low 0.34 in its first episode after Leverage last week. Through nine episodes, it's averaging a 0.49 demo.



The Soul Man: Since that promising premiere back in June, it's been pretty much 0.3's all the way for The Soul Man, and the overall average is now a 0.33. Is that going to be enough for a renewal? I'm guessing there's a good shot considering the network's biggest previous hit Hot in Cleveland averaged a 0.34 last season.

The Exes: The summer run of The Exes also hit a high on The Soul Man's premiere night and has since dropped off big-time. It's now averaging a 0.28 demo through seven episodes, just a touch better than its average in the winter.



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.

White Collar: Though White Collar held up all right against the Olympics, it continues to have a pretty mediocre-rated season. It's averaging a 0.97 demo through seven episodes, down by 17% from last summer.

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.

Necessary Roughness: Despite all the big drops by the above dramas, I still think they're all probably gonna get renewed. Where the uncertainty begins is with the sophomore Necessary Roughness, which (by USA's standards) had a pretty disastrous second season. A weak August dropped it all the way to a 0.71 average, down a massive 41% from the low-1's level the show maintained last summer.

Burn Notice: In the last couple summers, the big stories on USA have been big hits established on Tuesday and Wednesday. This summer? Something of a throwback, with Burn Notice-led Thursday again becoming the face of the network. Burn Notice finished the summer with a 1.24 average, which managed to hold off Suits to finish as USA's top drama of the summer. It was also down just 13% from last year's first seven, which compared to some of the above looks pretty darn good.

Suits: The only drama that put up a serious challenge to Burn Notice's USA demo supremacy was its lead-out Suits. It finished the summer on a great note and actually built from Burn the last couple weeks, hitting a 1.4 and then a 1.5 in the last two weeks. The summer ended up with a 1.23 average, a hundredeth behind Burn Notice, but its 9% year-to-year drop was the smallest on the network this summer.

Common Law: A couple underwhelming results at the end of Common Law's season put the average for the Friday drama at a 0.61. USA always waits awhile on its renewal decisions, but this will be an interesting gauge of how much slack the network is willing to give for "the Friday effect." I'd certainly renew it over a show like Necessary Roughness which has just a tenth better ratings despite a higher-viewed slot and a big lead-in, but they may cancel both.

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.

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