USA Network Had More Viewers This Year Than Any Basic-Cable Network in History

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Oh man, remember this episode? Photo: Courtesy of USA

Do you walk by subway ads for generic-looking USA Network dramas and wonder just who's watching these things? The answer? Everyone. USA rolled the basic-cable competition this year, dominating the 18 to 49 set, and tallying up more total viewers than any of its competitors have ever had. And it did it based on shows you barely knew existed, like Royal Pains, White Collar, and Burn Notice, which had 7.19 million viewers on average, good for second place overall. TNT’s secret powerhouse The Closer took first again, with 7.75 million.

Overall, scripted originals, not reality shows, boosted basic-cable networks, good news for those who see the demise of Western civilization foretold in Jon and Kate Plus 8 (although that show did pretty well, too). FX jumped 10 percent in the 18 to 49 demographic, with successful seasons from Sons of Anarchy and The League, while TNT maintained position with Dark Blue, Hawthorne, and unlikely critical-darling Men of a Certain Age. Elsewhere, while Jersey Shore has won our hearts, it wasn’t enough for MTV, which fell 10 percent in overall viewers. We’d like to make a jokey Burn Notice reference to wrap things up here, but we have no idea what that show is about.

New, scripted series boost cable ratings [Variety]