[08/07/03 - 12:00 AM]
'Nip/Tuck,' 'Queer Eye' Have Legs for Fx, Bravo
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- FX's "Nip/Tuck" and Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" are shaping up to be long term hits for their respective networks and both surprisingly air against each other.

Week three of FX's surgical drama averaged 3.55 million viewers, an increase of 6% over last week's numbers (3.34 million viewers). That's a rare feat considering most series lose viewers for the first month after their premieres. More importantly, "Nip/Tuck" actually hit a new series high in adults 18-49 (1.8/5) beating a repeat of "Judging Amy" on CBS (1.5/4) and tying ABC's "N.Y.P.D. Blue" for second place overall in its time slot.

Meanwhile, things aren't slowing down for Bravo's makeover series. Tuesday's episode scored 2.68 million viewers, just 70,000 viewers below from last week's record breaking episode (the most watched hour in the network's history). It also equaled last week's numbers in adults 18-49 (1.6/5). In fact things are going so well for "Queer Eye," parent company NBC is expanding next Thursday's rebroadcast on the Peacock to one hour. Instead of a trimmed half-hour version at 9:30/8:30c, NBC has opted to go for the full 60 minutes beginning at 10:00/9:00c. Overall, the show has helped Bravo more than double its entire primetime average when compared to a year ago (up 102%).

But that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to good (and some bad) news about cable this week. Here's a breakdown of the latest rumblings:

-- Lifetime's new Saturday series "1-800-MISSING" and "Wild Card" both exploded onto the scene, as the former set the network's record for best series premiere in its history. "1-800-MISSING" drew 3.3 million total viewers in its Saturday, 10:00/9:00c slot topping the 2001 bow of "The Division." "Wild Card" was no slouch either as the Joely Fisher-led drama scored 2.8 million total viewers.

-- While "Nip/Tuck" may be reason to celebrate at FX, the network's "Friday Night Fix" is looking to rain on its parade. The new two-hour block, which is composed of "Driveshaft," "Trash to Cash with John DiResta" and "The Hitchhiker Chronicles," averaged just 404,000 viewers this past weekend. That's down from the network's recent average in the 10:00/9:00c to midnight/11:00c slot when FX aired movies. Nevertheless, the block saw a 43% jump in its target demographic of men 18-34 from a year ago.

-- USA probably has the most to be excited about as all three of its original dramas finished in the top 15 of all cable series last week. "Peacemakers" came in third overall for its Wednesday debut (5.2 million total viewers) with "Monk" finishing just behind in fourth with 4.7 million while "The Dead Zone" rounded out the bunch at 13th (3.4 million) for Sunday's episode. The trio, along with FX's "Nip/Tuck" and Lifetime's "1-800-Missing," marked the first time five scripted series finished in the top 20 of all cable series in the same week.

-- MTV has picked up "The New Tom Green Show" for an additional 65 episodes (or 13 weeks) based on its solid ratings performance. Since its June 23 bow, the late night series has posted a 30% increase in its time slot from a year ago on the channel.

  [august 2003]  


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