NEW YORK — Much to its relief, HBO has finally discovered that there's life after "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City."
The pay cable network, which has struggled to replace those signature series, had a strong week with some new hits. The vampire series "True Blood," in its second season, had a series high of 3.9 million viewers on Sunday. Add in on-demand viewing, DVR viewing and extra showings, and the average episode of the series is being seen by 10.8 million viewers this season, according to Nielsen Media Research.
That's a substantial hit in HBO's world. The network is generally available in a little more than a quarter of the nation's homes with television. Only three broadcast shows last week – two airings of "America's Got Talent" on NBC and an "NCIS" rerun on CBS – got more than 10 million viewers.
The HBO comedy "Hung" had 3.6 million viewers on Sunday for its second episode, up 29 percent from its premiere. It is considered a very strong sign for a series to gain viewers from a premiere, which draws more of the curious viewers.
"Entourage" also had 3.4 million viewers, its biggest audience in more than two years, when it had the advantage of "The Sopranos" as a lead-in.
It was another slow summer week for broadcasters. "America's Got Talent" has clearly established itself as the summer's most popular new series, while CBS' strong drama reruns enabled the network to comfortably win the week. Another special on Michael Jackson's death was ABC's most popular show of the week.
CBS averaged 6.5 million viewers for the week (4.3 rating, 8 share), beating second-place NBC's 4.8 million viewers (3.1, 6). Fox had 4.4 million (2.7, 5), ABC 4.3 million (2.9, 5), My Network TV 1.5 million (0.9, 2), the CW 880,000 (0.6, 1) and Ion Television 600,000 (0.4, 1).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with 3.2 million viewers (1.7 rating, 3 share). Telemundo had 1.1 million and TeleFutura 950,000 (both 0.5, 1) and Azteca 190,000 (0.1, 0).
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.8 million viewers (5.2, 11). ABC's "World News" was second with 7 million (4.7, 10) and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.3 million viewers (3.7, 8).
A ratings point represents 1,145,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.5 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For the week of July 6-12, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 11.91 million; "NCIS," CBS, 11 million; "America's Got Talent," (Tuesday), NBC, 10.57 million; "Two and a Half Men," CBS, 9.41 million; "The Mentalist" (Tuesday, 9 p.m.), CBS, 9.25 million;"60 Minutes," CBS, 8.77 million; "CSI: Miami," CBS, 8.76 million; "Primetime: Family Secrets," ABC, 8.66 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 8.34 million; "The Mentalist" (Tuesday, 10 p.m.), CBS, 8.26 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox and My Network TV are units of News Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by General Electric Co. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. TeleFutura is a division of Univision. Azteca America is a wholly owned subsidiary of TV Azteca S.A. de C.V.
On the Net: