Cable Hits 'Shore,' 'Burn' Through Ratings

With the summer cable programming season officially completed, MTV's "Jersey Shore" has taken top honors in the prized 18-49 demographic for all TV viewing, live and time-shifted.

Looking at live viewing plus seven days of DVR playback (L7), the Nielsen Company says the MTV reality show earned a 3.19 rating among 18-49 viewers. USA's "Burn Notice," "Royal Pains" and "Covert Affairs" were in second, third place and fourth place, with 2.37, 2.33, and 2.25 ratings, respectively.

In observing the entire cable television season -- September 2009 to August 2010 -- ESPN's "Monday Night Football" was the big winner among 18-49 in L7, with a 5.83 rating. In sixth place, for the season overall, the NFL Network's Thursday night game pulled in a 2.2 rating. MTV's "Teen Mom" earned a 2.16 rating, good for seventh place.

Lifetime's "Project Runway" made the top 10 as well with a 1.91 rating, landing in eighth place. USA Network's "WWE Entertainment" was next with a 1.9 number. Bravo's "Top Chef" landed with a 1.78 rating, rounding out the top 10.



Going into the new season, Nielsen says viewers 65-plus continue to be the heaviest TV watchers, at almost 50 hours of TV per week -- 48 hours and 54 minutes. The average U.S. TV viewer clocks in at 35:34 minutes; kids 2-11 are at 25:48 minutes.

Nielsen says HDTV penetration is now at 54.2%. The highest-viewed HD shows are NBC's "The Office" (a 131 Index); Fox's "24" (a 130 index); NBC's "Parks and Recreation" and "30 Rock" (129); and ABC's "Modern Family" (126).

But when it comes to overall categories, science fiction continues to grab the most-watched status in HD homes, registering a 121 index; sports is close behind with a 120 number.

As of July, Nielsen says DVR penetration is at 37.3% of U.S. TV homes. The average viewer watches two hours and nine minutes of time-shifted programming a week.

In the 2009-2010 season, Nielsen says general drama represents the bulk of U.S. broadcast prime-time viewing, at 41%. Reality TV comes in at 24%, followed by sports at 12%. Comedies are at a 9% share; news programming and evening animated programming are each at a 3% number. Awards programming and feature films each have a 2% share. Sports commentary and general documentaries are each at a 1% share.

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