Of the bigger cable network players, improved summer results were achieved by USA Network, Disney Channel, Food Network, HGTV and TLC for the third quarter.
USA increased its overall lead as the highest-rated cable network -- as well as improving its distance against mainstream ad-supported entertainment programming competitors TNT and TBS.
In prime time, USA's overall viewership rose to an average 3.45 million, a 21% gain over a year ago, mostly because of its big "Burn Notice" and "Royal Pains" tag team.
Coming in second place was Disney Channel, up 18% to 2.88 million viewers.
Turner Broadcasting's networks TNT and TBS did not show the same strength. TNT, which came in at third place overall, was at 2.37 million, for a slight 1% drop. TBS Network (seventh place) lost 9% to 1.56 million prime-time viewers. But Turner's younger-skewing network, the late-night block Adult Swim, rose 7% to 1.15 million.
Scripps Television's Food Network and HGTV witnessed stronger results for the period. Food Network improved a big 35% to 1.22 million viewers in prime time; HGTV is now at 1.33 million, a 13% improvement.
Both FX and History showed rising total viewership in prime -- FX with a 12% gain to 1.34 million; and History, up 11% to 1.21 million. Discovery's TLC rocketed up 33% to 1.08 million average viewers in prime time, some of this due to big gains from its sudden hit "Jon & Kate Plus Eight."
ESPN was in fourth place overall at 2.32 million, a 3% gain; Nick at Nite (sixth place) improved 9% to 1.80 million; A&E (eighth place) was up 7% to 1.42 million.
Going in the other direction -- among the bigger players -- was Hallmark Channel, down 24% to 984,000 average prime-time viewers. Lifetime was off the mark 15% to 1.27 million viewers during the period.
Spike TV lost 19% to 951,000 viewers; Cartoon Network sank 16% to 1.18 million overall viewers. Comedy Central dropped 9% to 910,000 viewers.
Among news channels, Fox News continued its winning ways in prime, up 2% to 2.26 million -- good for fifth place overall. Its main competitors were off the mark: CNN down 30% to 949,000 million viewers and MSNBC off 10% to 795,000.