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Summer's Cable Winners ('Rizzoli & Isles') and Losers (Kathy Griffin)

by Chris Jordan, posted Aug 27th 2010 3:00PM
It seemed everyone was talking about 'Jersey Shore,' 'True Blood' and 'Mad Men' this summer. Well,guess what? Everyone was watching those cable shows, too.

The audience for MTV's 'Jersey Shore' jumped to 5.3 million average viewers, an increase of 194 percent from its previous season, HBO's 'True Blood' saw an 20 percent increase to 4.8 million viewers and AMC's 'Mad Men' jumped 26 percent to 2.4 million viewers, according the Nielsen cable summer TV ratings data as released by the Hollywood Reporter.

But not everyone scored so well. We've reviewed the data and broken down the numbers. See which shows were summer's winners and losers ...

Winner: TNT -- The channel's Monday night lineup soared. TNT paired 'The Closer' at 9PM with new procedural 'Rizzoli & Isles,' starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander, at 10PM. The result was 'The Closer' topping the cable list with 7.1 million viewers, an 8 percent increase, and 'Rizzoli & Isles' posting an average viewership of seven million, good for second place.

Loser: USA -- USA was was not the place this summer for procedurals and comedy-dramas. Four of its shows lost at least 10 percent in viewership: "Burn Notice' was down 10 percent (now 5.4 million), 'Royal Pains' also lost 10 percent (5.4 million), 'White Collar' decreased 11 percent (4.1 million) and 'Psych' was minus 10 percent (3.6 million).

Winner: 'Jersey Shore' -- Sophomore slump? Fuggedaboutit! The cast members of the MTV "reality show" show are everywhere these days, from Jay Leno to the New York Stock Exchange, and fans are can't get enough, as evidenced by the huge numbers for season 2.

Loser: 'Top Chef: D.C.' -- 'Maybe it's the age of the series (this is its seventh season), maybe it's all the spin-offs and or a show can only be hot for so long. Bravo's 'Top Chef D.C.' lost 21 percent of its viewers from last season, down to 2.3 million. Washington, D.C. may be our country's capital, but it hasn't proven to be a culinary slam-dunk.

Winner: Action Reality -- Viewers want watch hearty guys at work on the open seas. The audience for the Discovery Channel's 'Deadliest Catch' rose 29 percent to 4.5 million viewers and Animal Planet's 'Whale Wars' caught an 18 percent boost for a 1.3 million audience. 'Catch's' numbers were boosted by the drama of the death of cast member Capt. Phill Harris.

Loser: Kathy Griffin's Reality -- Here's another Bravo bleeder. 'Kathy Griffin: Life on the D-List' is down to 720,000 viewers, according to the report. It's a shame, especially since the show featured one of the best Liza Minnelli segments we've ever seen. Yes, folks, you can apparently cold-call Liza Minnelli.

Winner: Spies -- USA's 'Covert Affairs,' starring Piper Perabo as a Russian-speaking spy, and AMC's 'Rubicon,' about a huge government conspiracy, played to brisk numbers. 'Affairs' drew a 5.1 million average and 'Rubicon's' 1.5 million showed the public has an eye for spies.
Loser: Pregnant Teens -- Teen mom Amy Juergens is certainly not a spy, but the program suggests she's living a secret life, if you will. The high school pregnancy drama grew even more secretive this summer as it lost 12 percent of its audience on ABC Family. Not even the guest appearance by Bristol Palin generated sustained interest.

Winner: Betty White -- There's no stopping White. The TV Land sitcom 'Hot in Cleveland,' on which she co-stars, drew an average of 3.1 million viewers.
Loser: Louis CK -- This guy's not so lucky. His comedy 'Louie' garnered paltry 746,000 viewers on FX.

Nielsen Summer Cable Ratings
(Show, channel, average audience, percentage increase/decrease)
The Closer (TNT) 7.1 million, +8%; Rizzoli & Isles (TNT) 7 million, n/a; Burn Notice (USA) 5.6 million, -10%; Royal Pains (USA) 5.4 million, -10%; Jersey Shore (MTV) 5.3 million, +194%; Covert Affairs (USA) 5.1 million, n/a; True Blood (HBO) 4.8 million, +20%; Deadliest Catch (Discovery) 4.5 million, +29%; White Collar (USA) 4.1 million, -11%; Memphis Beat (TNT) 3.6 million, n/a; Psych (USA) 3.6 million, -10%; Leverage (TNT) 3.4 million, -3%; The Glades (A&E) 3.2 million, n/a;

Hot in Cleveland (TV Land) 3.1 million, n/a; Hawthorne (TNT) 3 million, -12%; Secret Life of the American Teenager (ABC Family) 2.8 million, -12%; Warehouse 13 (Syfy) 2.6 million, -21%; Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family) 2.6 million, n/a; Are We There Yet? (TBS) 2.6 million, n/a; Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime) 2.4 million, -11%; Mad Men (AMC) 2.4 million, +26%; Eureka (Syfy) 2.4 million, 0%; Top Chef (Bravo), 2.3 million, -21%; Futurama (Comedy Central) 2.2 million, n/a; Haven (Syfy) 2 million, n/a;

Rubicon (AMC) 1.5 million, n/a; Weeds (Showtime) 1.3 million, +8%; Rescue Me (FX) 1.3 million, -19%; Whale Wars (Animal Planet) 1.3 million, +18%; The Big C (Showtime) 1.2 million, n/a; Hard Times of RJ Berger (MTV) 1.1 million, n/a; Work of Art (Bravo) 1.1 million, n/a; Louie (FX) 746,000, n/a; Kathy Griffin: Life on the D-List (Bravo) 720,000, -3%; Hung (HBO) 185,000, -14%; Entourage (HBO) 185,000, 0%.

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Any news on Dark Blue?

August 28 2010 at 8:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Love Rizzoli and Isles hope they keep coming with this one

August 28 2010 at 6:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Your numbers are truly skewed. You try to say that Kathy Griffin's ratings are a disappointment because she only drew 720,000 viewers, but it was only a 3% drop from last year, a lot less of a drop than any USA Network show. Also, this summer saw the (sadly) latest installment in the "Housewives" series...don't see stats about that show - maybe Kathy out-performed the tired-assed catfest on Bravo?!

August 27 2010 at 7:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm happy to see "The Glades" made it into the top 15, despite the network's poor promotion of it! It's a great program but it's also cable's best kept secret and it deserves far better treatment from the network.

August 27 2010 at 7:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Technically, White Collar has two episodes to go this season, so its numbers are not final. Also, since it premiered in fall of 2009 and continued in the winter 2010, there are no summer ratings from 2009 to compare it to.

August 27 2010 at 6:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

NBC ruined Top Chef this year, my favorite show. Politics and food don't mix and you lose your appetite quickly with crooks like Nancy Pelosi showing up...I have left the show right in the middle several times this year like when the creepy people from MSNBC showed up like they are something special. Leave Top Chef alone and spread the politics manure on some other channel. p.s. they ruiend the poor little Weather Channel as well...they are just so dumb for doing this to Top Chef.

August 27 2010 at 4:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

USA and TNT that all you need to watch this summer. Everything on there is a great.

August 27 2010 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't watch White Collar on Tuesdays because I have 4 other shows on at the same time. I usually catch it later in the week. Also it takes for ever for the episode to be posted online.

Move it to Wednesdays! I got nothing on then!!!

August 27 2010 at 3:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I guess this type of article confuses me, as it really doesnt mean anything. How about some idea what these mean in the scheme of things. For example how you can call shows getting 5M viewers losers (burn notice) and shows getting 1.5M viewers winners (Rubicon). Maybe some context as to what means success for the particular channel.

I was under the impression that the USA shows were consistently through the summer winning the nielson ratings with the 18-49 demo. Hence how would they be losers.

Interesting numbers but essentially meaningless without context.

August 27 2010 at 3:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Nick's comment

I think they're considered "losers" because the lost a sizable number f viewers.

August 27 2010 at 7:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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