TNT's sci-fi drama "Falling Skies" pulled in the best ratings for a new cable series launch this year -- but it was not enough to beat NBC's "Miss USA" pageant, or TNT's big drama launch last year.
The series -- co-executive-produced by Steven Spielberg -- pulled in 5.9 million viewers during its two-hour premiere at 9 p.m. last night. NBC's "Miss USA" pulled in 7.3 million viewers.
Against virtually all repeat programming on the broadcasters, "Miss USA" pulled in a 2.2 rating/7 share among 18-49 viewers -- the only non-sports show to earn above a 2 rating among 18-49 viewers in prime time.
A year ago, against non-repeat programming, such as CBS' "Survivor" and other shows, the beauty contest got to a 1.4 rating.
For its part, "Falling Skies," which was sponsored for its debut by Hyundai, grabbed 2.0 ratings among 18-49 viewers.
NBC won the night among all TV networks with 6.6 million viewers and an average 1.8 rating/6 share among 18-49 viewers. The network also had the benefit of a big push from the "U.S. Open" golf event early in the evening, which scored a 2.2/9 from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and 9.0 million overall viewers.
After NBC, Fox and Univision were next, each with a 1.3/4 among 18-49 viewers. ABC and CBS each scored a 0.7/2; Telemundo earned a 0.4/1; CW took a 0.3/1; and ION earned a 0.2/1.
"Falling Skies" offered cable's best results since a year ago, when TNT's crime-drama "Rizzoli & Isles" debuted in the summer of 2010, to 7.6 million viewers. Lifetime's returning drama "Drop Dead Diva" -- starting up its third season on Sunday night, taking in 2.9 million viewers -- was down slightly from 3.1 million viewers.