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July 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, August 2. 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. Part two to come tomorrow!

The Glades (A&E): A&E's always decently-rated procedural turned in a solid July, hitting a 0.8 in the demo each of its last three weeks (before sitting out the first Olympic Sunday). That puts the average at a 0.73 demo through eight episodes, down just 1% year-to-year. Unlike its lead-out (see below), it hasn’t been renewed yet, but I’m pretty sure it will be.

Longmire (A&E): The new A&E Sunday drama has averaged a 0.75 demo through its first eight episodes and also picked up some momentum in July, hitting total viewer highs in each of its last two episodes. It’s already scored a renewal for season two.

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 0.67 average through seven summer season episodes is down a whooping 41% year-to-year.

Bunheads: We talked about the underwhelming premiere from Bunheads last month, but the good news is that it’s mostly held pretty close to that number in the subsequent weeks. It premiered to a 0.57 demo and through seven weeks is averaging a 0.55 demo. Considering The Lying Game had an even weaker start with a much better lead-in last summer and got renewed, I think this show has a shot to stick around.

Pretty Little Liars: With Secret Life on the speedy decline, that means Pretty Little Liars is now definitely the face of ABC Family’s original programming, and it’s held up quite well as the dead of summer has hit. Its 0.98 average through eight episodes is now up by 1% year-to-year.

Jane By Design: The great Pretty Little Liars lead-in still isn’t really boosting Jane By Design that much. Its 0.49 demo average means it’s losing exactly half of its PLL demo lead-in on average, plus it’s the weakest of the six originals ABC Family is airing right now. If anything out of ABC Family’s summer scripted slate is getting cancelled, it’s almost certainly this show.

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, though that growth did slow down a bit in July as the show mostly hung between a 0.5 and 0.6 demo. The season average to date is 0.58, still up 29% vs. the first eleven of last season.

Baby Daddy: Following a few really promising weeks at the beginning of its run, ABC Family’s new sitcom Baby Daddy is bouncing all over the place. It dropped from its typical 0.7 level down to a 0.5 on July 18, then jumped back up to 0.7 the next week, then took one of the biggest hits against the Olympics of anything on TV, collapsing to 0.4. It all adds up to a 0.63 average. Despite the volatility, I’m still quite confident a renewal is forthcoming, but then I’m also a little surprised it hasn’t happened yet. 

Breaking Bad (AMC): Those acclaimed AMC dramas just keep picking up demo audience year in and year out. Breaking Bad is the latest AMC show for which the “critically acclaimed show that nobody watches” narrative is fast losing steam, as it’s off to a fantastic start in its final season. The show premiered to a 1.5 demo on July 15, which was fourth tenths above any result in the first four seasons. It’s dropped in the subsequent two weeks, to 1.2 and then 1.1, but the 1.27 average is still up a massive 41% on the first three of last season.

Tosh.0 (Comedy Central): Comedy Central’s biggest original program had a bit of a rough season thanks to heavy competition from the male-skewing NBA Finals and then from the Olympics. It averaged a 1.32 demo for the summer, down 19% year-to-year, but it dropped to 1.2 in its two against-Finals eps in June and then faded to a series low 1.0 for the season finale against the Olympics.

Workaholics (Comedy Central): Though Workaholics mostly followed its lead-in downward against the NBA Finals, it did hold up a lot better against the Olympics, holding nearly all the Tosh lead-in in hitting a 0.9 for the season finale. But the season as a whole was down 21% from last year and averaged a 0.89.

Futurama (Comedy Central): Like with the Tosh/Workaholics block, Futurama is having a significantly down summer. Its 0.66 average through eight episodes is down by 23% year-to-year. Also like with that Tuesday block, Futurama got slammed against the Olympics, hitting a season/series low 0.51 last week.

Anger Management: Last month, I said that most of the huge sitcom premieres in the history of cable have taken a huge step downward starting in week two. And Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management only continued that tradition, plummeting from its 2.2 average in week one all the way to a 1.3 in week two. It seemed to stabilize at a little above 1.0 for the next few weeks, but it did manage just a 0.7 in its first airing against the Olympics. Through seven episodes, the average is a 1.35 demo. The premiere numbers apparently didn’t count toward the show’s ratings requirements to trigger a potential 90-episode pickup, but the post-premiere episodes have also likely exceeded that bar.

Wilfred: Wilfred premiered well (1.2 demo) leading out of that huge Anger Management premiere, but it’s since followed Anger down the drain, settling at around a 0.65 demo for the last few weeks. Throwing out the preview episode on June 21, the show is averaging a 0.71 demo this summer, down by 17% from last year.

Louie: FX announced a season four renewal for Louie at last week’s press tour, and it’s a good thing, because the ratings have been tanking. Since premiering with a 0.71 demo five weeks ago, it’s dropped each of the last five weeks and managed just a 0.3 against the Olympics! The season is averaging a 0.50 demo, down by 16% from last season’s first six.

True Blood (HBO): HBO’s True Blood quietly continues to dominate the cable landscape this summer, and it’s now as big as nearly any entertainment options on broadcast TV as well. Its Sunday night demo audience has been unbelievably consistent, falling between a 2.56 and a 2.67 for each of the last seven weeks. The season average is 2.65, down by 2% from the first eight of last season.

The Newsroom (HBO): Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom premiered with a 1.0 demo, dropped to a 0.7 in week two, then got back to 0.9 and seemed to stabilize there (before the Olympics entered the mix last week and knocked it down to 0.7). The show is averaging a 0.85 demo, still only about a third of what its True Blood lead-in is pulling, but season two is secure. 

Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime): Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva has bounced around a lot this season, with a few 0.8+ episodes and a few 0.6 or worse, but it all adds up to a 0.73 average through eight episodes. That’s down by just 4% year-to-year. Expect another renewal.

Army Wives (Lifetime): The return to the 10:00 hour has benefited Army Wives somewhat, as it’s averaging a little over a 1.0 demo since the return. The season as a whole is now averaging a 0.98 demo through 18 episodes, down by 17% vs. the year-ago 13-episode season.

Teen Wolf (MTV): MTV’s Teen Wolf just continues to turn in solid results and is now averaging a 0.67 demo through 10 episodes. That’s up by 1% vs. the year-ago first ten, so the show scored a super-sized renewal last month. Season three will have 24 episodes.

Awkward. (MTV): As expected, Awkward. has taken a ratings step backward in season two simply because it’s in a much worse timeslot than last summer, when it aired after the then-huge hit Teen Mom. It’s averaging a 0.77 demo and has steadied right around that number almost every week. That’s down by 13% from the first six post-Teen Mom eps last year, and that year-to-year number will probably worsen as the season progresses since Awkward. really broke out in the first half of last season. Still, the show comfortably scored a 20-episode season three renewal last month.

Eureka: Long-running Syfy drama Eureka finished out its run in July, perking up only a fraction for its last couple episodes (each of which got a 0.6). The 13-episode final season averaged a 0.53 demo and was down 24% year-to-year.

Warehouse 13: We may have to wait awhile till we can really gauge Syfy’s Powerful Mondays block, since the shows have both aired just two episodes and one went up against the Olympics. The premiere of Warehouse 13 on July 23 (0.8 demo) was close to even with last year’s premiere, but the show dropped over 25% in week two against the Olympics. Through two weeks, the 0.66 average is down by 23% from last year.

Alphas: Unlike Warehouse 13, Alphas did not have a good July 23 premiere night. The 0.6 demo was a mere shadow of the year-ago series premiere’s 0.9, then the show dropped to 0.5 in week two. The 0.53 average is down a whooping 38% from the first two of last year. 

WWE Friday Night Smackdown!: It was a good month for Syfy’s wrestling franchise. The 0.82 demo average was stronger than all their scripted shows, a bit stronger than the 0.78 June average, and also up a good bit from the July 2011 average.

Lost Girl: In mid-July, Syfy moved Lost Girl over to Friday night to make room for Alphas on Monday. Usually, that’d be a bad thing, but Lost Girl does have a much larger lead-in on Friday with Smackdown! So far, the smaller viewing levels and the bigger lead-in on Friday have basically been a wash, as Lost Girl has turned in a 0.4 demo in each of its two Friday airings to date. (Though the total viewer count has been a bit higher.) The season is averaging a 0.42 demo through 15 episodes, still just a bit behind the season one average.

END PART ONE - Part two covering shows on TBS, TNT, TV Land and USA coming tomorrow!

For more, check out the previous cable guides here at SpoilerTV:
June part 1 | June part 2

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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