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Will Fall Cool Down Cable's Summer Hits?

FX's latest series Nip/Tuck is quietly amassing ratings success on par with the channel's first original show, The Shield. After seven episodes, the plastic surgeon drama is averaging a robust 3.0 rating, and last week's episode posted a strong 3.1 rating and 3.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Now, with the broadcast-network fall season getting under way in earnest, Nip/Tuck and some of cable's other summer hits will really be tested.

Since its July premiere, Bravo's makeover show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy has been steadily building. Four promotional plays of Queer Eye on NBC helped drive it to a high 3.3 rating with 3.4 million viewers for its Sept. 2 episode.

Last week, though, with NBC premiering Tuesday sitcoms Whoopi and Happy Family, Bravo aired a repeat episode of Queer Eye, which slipped to a 1.9 rating and 2 million viewers. Still, those marks were better than the first two episodes of Queer Eye earlier this summer.

On ESPN, original series Playmakers is losing steam. In its third week, the football drama slipped to a 1.6 rating, down from a 2.4 for its Aug. 28 premiere. One bright spot: Of the 1.8 million viewers who tuned in Sept. 9, 600,000 were men 18-34.

Also Sept. 9, MTV's latest hit celeb reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica attracted a 2.3 rating and 2.4 million viewers.

Spike TV's reality spoof The Joe Schmo Show—starring a guy who unwittingly takes part in a fake reality show—improved ratings in its second week. On Sept. 9, it posted a 0.9 rating and 1.2 million viewers, up from a 0.7 and 800,000 viewers on its Sept. 2 debut. The show scored well with Spike's core male demos, and overall ratings were in line with the net's August prime time average.