FX Premiere Sculpts Strong Ratings

FX's much-touted series Nip/Tuck led what was a stellar ratings performance for several of cable's original series last Tuesday night.

The 90-minute premiere of the FX series pilot — focusing on a pair of Miami-based plastic surgeons — averaged a 3.16 household rating during the 10 p.m.-11:30 p.m. time slot on July 22, drawing 2.5 million viewers and making it cable's most-watched new-series premiere of the year, said executives.

But the show failed to match the 4.1 rating for the series premiere of FX's other signature show, The Shield. In fact, the show placed fifth among cable's top-rated original series debuts, behind USA's Dead Zone (4.8) and Monk
(3.5), as well as E! Entertainment Television's Anna Nicole Show

While time will tell if Nip/Tuck
can follow in The Shield's footsteps, network officials are satisfied with its quick start.

"Clearly there is a tremendous amount of buzz about Nip/Tuck, and we're excited about the ratings, the show's distinctive quality and its profile for network's brand," FX Networks CEO Peter Liguori said in a statement. "To now have two of the top five most-watched series premieres ever on basic cable with Nip/Tuck
and The Shield
says a lot about the strides FX has made over the last two years."

Also bowing impressively was A&E Network's British espionage drama MI-5, which generated a 1.6 household rating — a 45% jump over A&E's primetime average, according to the network.

The skein averaged 757,000 adult 25 to 54 viewers, a level 81% greater than its primetime average for the demo. The show attracted 636,000 adults 18 to 49, up 99% over the network's average audience delivery for that key set.

Also pulling strong numbers Tuesday was the third episode of Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,
which generated a 1.4 household rating, down from its network record-setting 1.6 for its July 15 premiere from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. (The second installment, which followed that night, averaged a 1.3.)

Bravo drew 1.27 million viewers among adults 25 to 54 on July 22, a 7% increase from the premiere (1.17).

Other notable performances during a robust Tuesday for cable included MTV: Music Television's reality duo of The Real World and The Osbournes, which pulled a 2.8 and 2.4 rating, respectively, from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. July 22.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.