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June 2012 Cable Ratings Guide, Part 1

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, June 28. I'm putting all shows that just started a season (in other words, weren't on last month's guide) in blue.

Since I've got fifty shows in this edition, more than twice as many shows as last month, I'm splitting this into two parts to try to make it somewhat feasible to get through each part in one sitting. HERE'S THE LINK TO PART TWO!

The Glades (A&E): A&E's always decently-rated procedural is back for season four with a 0.75 demo average through four episodes. That's down just 4% from the first four of last summer.

Longmire (A&E): The real story on A&E Sundays has been the start of Longmire, another procedural that seems to have given the network another decent scripted option beyond The Glades. The show has brought a lot more total viewers than The Glades but an almost identical 0.77 demo average through four episodes. It was renewed for a second season this week.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager: As last summer, ABC Family is airing a massive string of Secret Life episodes in a row and combining eps from what are technically two different seasons. Though the show had aired for the previous 11 weeks, a new season technically began on June 11. And Secret Life continues to prove a mere shadow of its former self, down more than almost anything on TV. The 0.77 average through three summer season episodes is down a whooping 42% year-to-year.

Bunheads: With the Secret Life lead-in not what it used to be, that meant newbie Bunheads has not had a lot of support. The show opened its run with just 1.64 million viewers and a 0.57 demo rating on June 11. The good news is that it's held that number quite well, posting a 0.62 and 0.57 in the last two weeks. That leaves it at a 0.59 average through three weeks.

Pretty Little Liars: With Secret Life on the speedy decline, that means Pretty Little Liars is now definitely the face of ABC Family. Its 1.03 demo average through four episodes this summer easily outshines the network's other originals, and it's also impressively down by just 2% from the first four of last summer.

Jane By Design: Jane By Design has the biggest lead-in on the network, but it's been of little assistance to Jane By Design, whose 0.50 average through four episodes is almost identical to what it averaged in its winter 2012 run after weaker Switched at Birth. This certainly feels like the weakest show on the network right now.

Melissa & Joey: The big story on ABC Family this summer is that they're having something of a comedy renaissance, led off by veteran Melissa & Joey. The show has been substantially up year-to-year all season, and that growth has only enlarged once Baby Daddy debuted after it. The 0.60 average through seven episodes is up by a whooping 41% year-to-year.

Baby Daddy: The ABC Family comedy hour really started to heat up once Baby Daddy arrived. The show premiered to a 0.73 demo on June 20 and grew ever so slightly to a 0.74 in week two, building on Melissa & Joey both weeks and seemingly helping out its lead-in. This is definitely the most promising new thing the network has going right now.

Mad Men (AMC): Mad Men followed up its impressively-rated first half of the season with a bit of a slump in the third quarter of the season, actually dropping behind the year-to-year curve in episodes 10 and 11. However, the show finished pretty strong, spiking to a 0.82 demo for the penultimate episode and then a 0.94 demo for the finale. Both of those were up double digits year-to-year. Overall, season five averaged a 0.88 demo, up by 21% on season four.

The Killing (AMC): In summer 2011, viewers flocked to The Killing finale, thinking they'd see who killed Rosie Larsen. This summer, there was no such surge in interest at the end, as the finale was actually down week-to-week (from 0.53 to 0.46 in the demo). Aside from the finale, though, the season was actually pretty close to even year-to-year down the stretch. The season as a whole ended up averaging a 0.48 demo, down 20% year-to-year. I'd be somewhat surprised both creatively and ratings-wise if the show gets another season, but stranger things have happened.

The Game (BET): In May, The Game stabilized between a 1.0 and 1.1 demo, continuing to drag the season average down, but it did get back up to a 1.3 demo for the season finale on June 5. The 2.8 demo for the season premiere back in January feels like a long time ago. The 1.40 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.

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 19% from last season's average. Like The Game, it got a spike to a 1.0 demo for its season finale.

Tosh.0 (Comedy Central): Comedy Central's male-skewing Tuesday block was as affected by the NBA Finals competition as anyone. Anchor Tosh.0 managed just a 1.2 demo in each of its airings against the Finals, but then last week it spiked back up to a 1.6 demo with the Finals over. Because of those Finals-depressed ratings, the summer season is averaging just a 1.41 demo, and that's down 16% from last year's first five.

Workaholics (Comedy Central): And the story was pretty much the same for Workaholics: big struggles vs. the finals (0.7 and 0.8), then a nice spike last week to a 1.0. Through five episodes, it's averaging a 0.94 demo, down by 20% year-to-year.

Futurama (Comedy Central): Comedy Central has moved Futurama out of the crowded comedy fray on Thursday and given it a shot in the Wednesday timeslot that often belongs to fellow animated program South Park. So far, the new timeslot has been of no help, as the one-hour Futurama premiere on June 20 was down about 30% year-to-year. The season is averaging just a 0.76 demo through three episodes, down by 26%.

Anger Management: There have been several cable sitcom premieres in the past that looked like they might be the start of the first legitimately broadcast-sized sitcom hit. And Anger Management is another one, as it started with a very impressive 2.1 and 2.3 demo (plus over 5.6 million viewers for the hour) in its two-episode premiere last Thursday. But most huge sitcom premieres have taken a big dive in week two, so don't pencil this in as cable's first megahit sitcom just yet.

Wilfred: FX had a preview episode of sophomore comedy Wilfred on June 21 that pulled a pretty weak 0.4 demo. The show then moved to its regular Thursday 10/9c timeslot last week and got a 1.2 demo, which was even with its series premiere last year. That could certainly be construed as a disappointment since this year's premiere had a huge lead-in from aforementioned Anger Management. But Wilfred lost about half its audience over the course of its summer 2011, so to get back up this high again seems pretty good.

Louie: The Anger Management benefit was pretty much gone by 10:30 as the third season premiere of critically beloved Louie got a 0.7 demo, down by a tenth from the 0.8 for its 2011 premiere (when it had the same-sized 1.2 lead-in from Wilfred).

Brand X with Russell Brand: Not sure if I'll update this one going forward since I mostly stick to primetime, but I wanted to note that FX's late night effort with Russell Brand scored a 0.5 demo rating in last Thursday's premiere. Among its late night cable competition that night, it tied Conan (0.5) and trailed The Daily Show (0.7). I'm not really sure what FX's expectations were, but that seems like an OK start.

Game of Thrones: What a second season for Game of Thrones, as the show was up by more than 50% year-to-year in all but one week. The finale on June 3 posted a new series high 2.2 demo and also broke past the four million viewer threshold for the first time. The season as a whole ended up with a 1.92 demo average, up by 71% from season one.

True Blood: As good as the trajectory has been for Game of Thrones, it's True Blood that for now remains king of the HBO dramas. It pulled a 2.9 demo in its premiere, down by just a tick year-to-year. The 2.70 average through three episodes is up 11% year-to-year, though that's a little inflated since the 2011 average includes the really low rated 4th of July weekend episode. The two "fair" comparisons this year were down in the 5% range, which is still pretty stellar for a fifth-year serialized show. It got renewed for a sixth season yesterday.

Veep: Give HBO credit; they say they don't care about things like lead-in dynamics, and they put their money where their mouth is. They've renewed shows like Veep and Girls despite what would in the broadcast realm seem like absolutely horrifying lead-in retention. After the aforementioned 2.9 demo for the True Blood premiere, Veep saw no real bounce and ended its season with just a 0.58 demo, meaning it shed about 80% of the True Blood demo audience. The rookie season as a whole averaged a 0.53 demo.

Girls: The last month of the Girls season looked a little more promising, as the show actually built on its Veep lead-in once (when it hit a series high 0.63 demo on June 3), and the ten-episode season's last four episodes were also its four biggest results. The season as a whole averaged a 0.46 demo.

The Newsroom: June 24's debut of Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom didn't look like anything special, pulling 2.14 million viewers and a 1.0 demo and dropping over 60% of its True Blood lead-in (2.6). But after examining what Veep and Girls did in the same timeslot all spring, it looks pretty peachy by comparison. We'll have to see how well it holds up moving forward, but it's already scored a second season renewal.

END PART ONE - Part two covering shows on Lifetime, MTV, Syfy, TBS, TNT, TV Land and USA is up!

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

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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