Cable 2011: 'Jersey Shore' Heats Up At No. 1

by , Dec 28, 2011, 11:35 AM
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Jersey-ShoreThis year's most-watched, regularly scheduled adult non-sports cable TV show has a clear winner versus a year ago -- MTV's "Jersey Shore," which significantly boosted viewership and its overall ranking.

Looking at Nielsen live-plus-seven days of time shifting via data from Turner Broadcasting research, "Shore" averaged 9.2 million overall viewers, up from 6 million a year ago -- the No. 1 cable TV show for the calendar year through Dec. 11, 2011, compiling final and preliminary Nielsen data versus the comparable period a year ago. The show placed seventh a year ago among total viewers.

MTV's top-rated reality show also gained in key 18-49 viewers -- 6.5 million average versus 4.1 million a year ago, making it the top cable TV show in the demographic that is key to TV advertisers. "Shore" was in second place in 2010.

AMC's "Walking Dead" also grew, coming in second to "Shore" in 2011 --- 8.8 million, up from 6.6 million. The show's 18-49 numbers are at 6 million in 2011; improving from its 4.5 million in 2010. Its 18-49 numbers were second to "Shore" this year.

Two TNT shows are next among all viewers: "Rizzoli & Isles" (8.142 million) and "The Closer" (8.129 million). But both shows lost some steam versus 2010: "Isles" was at 8.773 million in 2010; "Closer" pegged at 8.325 million.

In places five through 10 are History's "Pawn Stars," 7.021 million (up from 5.526 million); TNT's "Falling Skies," 6.906 million (a new show in 2011); USA's "Royal Pains," 6.558 million (down from 7.326 million) ; USA"s "Suits," 6.314 million (new show in 2011); USA's "Burn Notice," 6.008 million (down from 6.592 million); and History's "American Pickers," 5.784 million (gaining from 4.564 million).

Some of those top-rated shows of 2010 lost ground, including the USA show "Covert Affairs" 5.8 million overall viewers versus 7 million a year ago. Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" was at 2.8 million among adult 18-49 viewers versus 3.2 million in 2010. "Catch" was also at 3.1 million in 25-54 in 2011, versus 3.5 million in 2010. Comedy Central's "South Park" also went a bit lower -- 2.7 million 18-49 viewers versus 2.9 million in 2010.

FX's "Sons of Anarchy" gained in 2011 --  5.3 million total viewers from 4.3 million a year ago, the network's best-performing show overall. It had 3.6 million 18-49 viewers  -- third-highest for any non-sports regularly scheduled show in 2010. "Sons" had nearly 3 million 18-49 viewers in 2010.

MTV's "Teen Mom" franchise also picked up ground -- 3.4 million in 18-49 viewers from 2.994 million in 2010. "Teen Mom II" took in 3.4 million among 18-49 viewers in 2011.

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