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July 2012 Cable Ratings Guide, Part 2

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. HERE'S PART ONE FROM YESTERDAY.

Men at Work (TBS): The ten-episode first season of Men at Work dropped off a bit toward the end and finished the season with a 0.98 average, usually lower than The Big Bang Theory reruns that preceded it. It's been renewed for a second season.

Sullivan & Son (TBS): TBS' second stab at a Thursday night sitcom was Sullivan & Son, which started a lot lower than Men at Work with just a 1.0 and 0.8 demo in its two-episode premiere on July 19. However, it held up better in week two, hitting a 0.9. Throw in a big week three drop against the Olympics and it's averaging a 0.87 demo thus far.
For Better or Worse (TBS): TBS has brought back their latest from Tyler Perry, and despite its Friday night timeslot it's still fairly competitive in the demos with a show like Sullivan & Son. It's averaging a 0.78 demo through three weeks, and that was more like a 0.85 before it got crushed by the Olympics last week. But that's still below the 0.9ish level it had for its first run back in November/December.

The Closer: It was the signature scripted program on TNT for many years, but as The Closer nears its end it's actually among its network's weakest 9:00 anchors. Through four episodes, it's averaging a 0.98 demo, and that's down by 20% on the first four of last summer. Just two more to go including the one that aired last night.

Perception: We still don't quite have a handle on where TNT's new Perception is at yet, as the results have been kinda all over the place. It premiered to a 0.85 demo on July 9, grew to 0.95 in week two, then dropped to 0.83 and then to 0.74 against the Olympics last week. That's a 0.84 demo average. It's off next week for a Major Crimes preview, then it'll be paired with Major Crimes on Mondays starting on August 13.

Rizzoli & Isles: As other TNT dramas like Dallas have faltered over the course of this summer, Rizzoli & Isles has re-emerged as one of the network's strongest options. It's averaging a 1.07 demo for the summer, and (until last week when the Olympics crushed it) it was actually doing a little better than that recently. That average is still down 14% from last year's average after The Closer, though.

Franklin & Bash: While Rizzoli & Isles has picked up a little steam in July, its legal dramedy lead-out has gone in the other direction, dropping to just a 0.7 demo for a couple weeks and then a 0.6 against the Olympics. The season as a whole is averaging a 0.77 demo, down by 10% from the year-ago first nine episodes, though last year's episodes didn't have as strong of a lead-in.

Dallas: It was not the best of months for TNT's Dallas remake. It seemed to have gotten relatively stable in early to mid July at just shy of a 1.0 demo, but then it took a huge drop to a 0.75 on July 25, marking the sixth straight week that the show had dropped 18-49 audience. The good news is it went against the Olympics grain in gaining a bit back last Wednesday (to 0.81), but this show is still certainly not living up to the hype ratings-wise. It's averaging a 1.09 demo through nine episodes, with the season finale to come tomorrow night. It's already been renewed.

Leverage: The season premiere of Leverage on July 15 got a 0.84 demo, then week two on July 22 dropped to 0.70. The 0.77 demo average thus far is down 9% from last year's first two. If it can stay in that range year-to-year, that should probably be considered something of a win since the show's airing in the 8:00 hour now.

Falling Skies: The TNT sci-fi drama premiered with a 1.5 in June, then dropped to a 1.3 in week two and a 1.2 in week three. Since then, it's been all 1.2s, a noticeably lower level than the 1.4ish at which the show stabilized at this point last summer. The 1.28 demo average through seven episodes is down 19% year-to-year.

The Great Escape: TNT's Amazing Race-esque reality show stayed impressively steady in its first few weeks, but late July was not good for the show. It dropped from its 0.6ish level down below 0.5 for each of the last two weeks. It's now averaging a 0.56 demo through five episodes, about two tenths weaker than any drama on the network (despite having the biggest drama in 18-49 on the network as a lead-in).

Retired at 35: After three uneventful weeks to say the least on Tuesday (demo ratings of 0.11 -> 0.14 -> 0.11), TV Land moved Retired at 35 back to Wednesday with their other original sitcoms, airing at 11:00 after their already established block. I haven't seen ratings on it since that point and may not again, but it's a pretty safe bet they haven't improved all that much.

The Soul Man: As I said last month, the story of The Soul Man has basically been one extremely promising week (the 0.6 demo for the June 20 premiere) and then a lot of pretty bland ratings that resemble those of all their other comedies (basically about a 0.3). Through seven episodes, it's averaging a 0.34 demo, almost exactly the average of the most recent season of TV Land's Hot in Cleveland.

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 0.27 demo through seven episodes, exactly the same as its average in the winter.

WWE Raw: USA's wrestling franchise celebrated a heck of a milestone on July 23, marking the 1000th episode of its run. And the viewers responded. The show hit a 2.0/2.4/2.4 demo for its three hours, the biggest numbers for Raw in years. It took a huge hit the next week thanks to no celebration plus Olympic competition, dropping to a 1.4/1.5/1.5. In July Raw averaged a 1.75 demo.

White Collar: Double-digit drops have been the norm for USA's dramas this summer, and White Collar has been no exception. So far it's averaging an underwhelming 0.94 demo, down by 16% from the year-ago first four. One silver lining is that it held up pretty well against the Olympics last week (dropping just 4% from 0.90 to 0.86).

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 among the weakest of USA's Tuesday to Thursday dramas. It's averaging a 0.87 demo this summer to date, down by a stout 25% from the first four of 2011, and it took a pounding against the Olympics last week (with a 0.70).

Royal Pains: But if you think USA's Tuesday dramas are struggling, you haven't seen Wednesday yet. Another show that feels like it was a big hit only yesterday is Royal Pains, yet it's only managing a 1.01 demo average this summer. That's 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, which has seemed like a no-brainer to me since the show was greenlit. 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 is (by USA's standards) having a pretty disastrous second season. It's averaging a mere 0.74 demo through eight episodes, 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 Thursday and Burn Notice again becoming the face of the network. Burn Notice's 1.25 demo average this summer is tops among its network's dramas this summer. That's down 14% from last year's first seven, but the year-to-year gap has closed in recent weeks as Notice has picked up steam (including a season high 1.4 demo on July 26).

Suits: The only drama putting up a serious challenge to Burn Notice's USA demo supremacy is its lead-out Suits, averaging a 1.21 demo this summer. That's down 13% from last year, but that's the smallest year-to-year drop among USA's returning dramas.

Common Law: The new Friday night cop drama has tapered off a bit in July, settling at around a 0.5 demo for its last couple airings. It's still averaging a 0.62 demo through ten airings with the finale coming this week. As I've said in past months, this will be an interesting test of what USA's expectations are for a Friday show these days.

Political Animals: Despite a big bundle of critical acclaim, USA's "limited series event" Political Animals has been a ratings disappointment, averaging just a 0.48 demo through three episodes. As you can see, that's well behind their other dramas, even Friday ones like Common Law. I'd usually say that means there's no shot at a pickup for 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, BET, Comedy Central, FX, HBO, Lifetime, MTV and Syfy.

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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