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USA Gets Cable Ratings Gold

As expected, competition from the beginning of the Olympic Games depressed end-of-the-week ratings for a number of cable channels last week, but NBC-owned USA Network wasn't one of them.

USA, which has been enjoying big audiences all summer, was the top-rated cable channel for the week of Aug. 9-15, with 2.54 million viewers in prime time.

The channel's hit limited series, The 4400, is over, but USA's two recurring dramas continue to draw recurring crowds.

The Dead Zone was home to 3.61 million viewers Aug. 15 and Monk tracked down 4.85 million viewers on Aug. 13, particularly impressive since it aired against the Olympics' opening ceremony on NBC. (USA didn't have any Olympic action on its air last week, though it does this week.)

Falling in behind USA were the Disney Channel (2.2 million viewers); TNT (2.1 million viewers); Nick at Nite (1.94 million viewers); and Cartoon Network (1.91 million viewers).

TNT claimed cable's most-watched program last week, the Aug. 15 NASCAR race from Watkins Glen, N.Y., which averaged 5.64 million viewers.

FX's plastic surgeon drama, Nip/Tuck, turned in a good showing Aug. 10, delivering 3.88 million viewers, while freshman firefighter drama Rescue Me attracted 2.75 million viewers the following night.