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TNT is Summer's Scripted Cable Leader; Net's 'Last Ship,' FX's 'The Strain' Top New Shows

USA maintained its status as basic cable's top summer network in key demos, but TNT emerged as the clear scripted leader -- getting a boost from hot newcomer "The Last Ship."

The Turner net, which aired an unprecedented nine original firstrun dramas at one point or another this summer, won the warm-weather period in total viewers, handing USA a rare setback by this measure. And it did it by ruling the original-series program rankings.

According to Nielsen preliminary "most current" summer estimates from May 26-Aug. 24, TNT could claim four of basic cable's top 20 original series in adults 18-49 ("The Last Ship," "Rizzoli & Isles," "Falling Skies" and "Major Crimes") -- more than any other network and twice as many as it had last year. Bravo, Discovery, MTV and VH1 all had two apiece.

And the net was even more dominant in adults 25-54, with four of the top five scripted basic cable series, and in total viewers, with six of the top 10.

TNT was one of numerous top-tier cable networks down by double-digits from last year, with most of its declines attributed to stronger NBA conference finals numbers in 2013. The net notes that its original summer series averaged 5.6 million viewers this year, up 23% from last year. They have also performed 9% better in adults 18-49 and 13% in adults 25-54.

Cable's top two original scripted series in adults 18-49 this summer -- FX's "The Strain" and "The Last Ship" (pictured) -- were newcomers. Both shows, whose final averages should rise with more recent DVR data, lagged NBC's "The Night Shift," which was summer's top new show overall.

"Strain" was also the top new cable series (scripted or unscripted) in adults 18-34, while "Last Ship" was the top-rated among adults 25-54 and total viewers.

Joining "The Strain" among the top 10 cable series of the summer in 18-49 were two other FX shows, "Fargo" and "Tyrant."

The top two summer cable programs of any genre in adults 18-49 were returning reality series -- A&E's "Duck Dynasty," which finished on top despite a roughly 50% year-over-year falloff, and VH1's "Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta," which was up vs. last year.

The highest-rated new unscripted series of the summer in adults 18-49 were Bravo's "Real Housewives of Atlanta: Kandi's Wedding," E!'s "Botched" and TLC's "Return to Amish." In adults 25-54 and total viewers, the other reality show among the top 10 new summer cable series was History's "Pawnography."

Among the younger 12-34 crowd, summer's biggest new shows were Disney Channel's "Girl Meets World" (1.72 million), MTV's "Finding Carter" (1.36 million), FX's "The Strain" (1.21 million), MTV's "Faking It" (1.18 million) and Adult Swim's "Black Jesus" (1.17 million).

SUMMER'S TOP BASIC CABLE NETWORKS
(Most current through Aug. 24)

Adults 18-49
USA 919,000
TBS 826,000
TNT 738,000
Adult Swim 704,000
FX 657,000
Discovery 654,000
History 644,000
ESPN 626,000
A&E 564,000
ABC Family 551,000

Adults 25-54
USA 962,000
TNT 894,000
TBS 837,000
History 790,000
Discovery 737,000
ESPN 660,000
FX 635,000
A&E 629,000
HGTV 564,000
Food 551,000

Total Viewers
TNT 2.515 million
USA 2.273 million
Disney 2.040 million
History 1.936 million
Fox News 1.748 million
TBS 1.627 million
ESPN 1.519 million
HGTV 1.447 million
A&E 1.432 million
Nick@Nite 1.413 million

 

SUMMER'S TOP BASIC CABLE ORIGINAL SERIES

Adults 18-49
1. Duck Dynasty (A&E), 2.996 million (2.36 rating)
2. Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta (VH1), 2.913 million (2.29 rating)
3. Keeping Up With the Kardashians (E!), 2.288 (1.80 rating)
4. The Strain (FX), 2.214 million (1.74 rating)
5. Teen Mom II (MTV), 2.208 million (1.74 rating)
6. The Last Ship (TNT), 2.050 million (1.61 rating)
7. Rizzoli & Isles (TNT), 2.004 million (1.58 rating)
8. Deadliest Catch (Discovery), 1.928 million (1.52 rating)
9. Catfish: The TV Show (MTV), 1.897 million (1.49 rating)
10. Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family), 1.843 million (1.45 rating)

Total Viewers
1. Rizzoli & Isles (TNT), 7.576 million
2. Major Crimes (TNT), 7.130 million
3. The Last Ship (TNT), 6.365 million
4. Duck Dynasty (A&E), 5.916 million
5. Longmire (A&E), 5.646 million
6. Murder in the First (TNT), 4.491 million
7. Falling Skies (TNT), 4.410 million
8. Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta (VH1), 4.384 million
9. Perception (TNT), 4.185 million
10. Pawn Stars (History), 4.170 million

SUMMER'S TOP NEW BASIC CABLE ORIGINAL SERIES

Adults 18-49
1. The Strain (FX), 2.214 million (1.74 rating)
2. The Last Ship (TNT), 2.050 million (1.61 rating)
3. Real Housewives of Atlanta: Kandi's Wedding (Bravo), 1.744 million (1.37 rating)
4. Fargo (FX), 1.521 million (1.20 rating)
5. Tyrant (FX), 1.209 million (0.95 rating)
6. Dominion (Syfy), 1.198 million (0.94 rating)
7. Black Jesus (Adult Swim), 1.196 million (0.94 rating)
8. Botched (E!), 1.141 million (0.90 rating)
9. Return to Amish (TLC), 1.094 million (0.86 rating)
10. Finding Carter (MTV), 1.065 million (0.84 rating)

Total Viewers
1. The Last Ship (TNT), 6.365 million
2. Murder in the First (TNT), 4.491 million
3. The Strain (FX), 3.869 million
4. Fargo (FX), 3.714 million
5. Real Housewives of Atlanta: Kandi's Wedding (Bravo), 3.174 million
6. Dominion (Syfy), 2.670 million
7. Tyrant (FX), 2.619 million
8. Pawnography (History), 2.582 million
9. Return to Amish (TLC), 2.477 million
10. Legends (TNT), 2.152 million

 

Related stories'Hunger Games,' 'Divergent' Franchises Coming to TNT'The Strain' Renewed for Season 2TV Review: 'Legends' 2014 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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