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[08/28/03 - 12:00 AM]
'Playmakers' Latest Cable Series to Open Strong
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The string of cable success stories continued this week as ESPN's first original drama "Playmakers" scored a solid 2.66 million viewers for Tuesday's commercial-free premiere. More importantly though, the series delivered the largest male 18-49 and 25-54 audience, the network's target demographics, for a drama premiere on basic cable this year. The bow also saw its audience grow between half-hours, a sign viewers didn't lose interest.

But "Playmakers" wasn't the only success story on Tuesday. Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and "Boy Meets Boy" both hit series highs that night, the former of which seems to break records with each passing week. Tuesday's "Queer Eye" crossed the 3 million barrier in total viewers (3,088,000) averaging a 2.89 household rating.

Among Bravo's key demographics, the broadcast scored 2,249,000 viewers in adults 25-54 and 2,223,000 in adults 18-49, good enough for third place among all broadcast and cable networks in both categories, behind only ABC and NBC. Not surprisingly, all three figures are records for the network as the series beat its own previous highs from last week.

Lead-out "Boy Meets Boy" also generated its best numbers to date: 1.0 million in adults 25-54, 1.0 million in adults 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall and a 1.36 household rating.

Also hitting top marks on Tuesday: MTV's "Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica." The reality series averaged 2.85 million viewers, up from 2.48 million for last week's launch.

Meanwhile the numbers are in for the finales of HBO's "The Wire" and "Project Greenlight." Sunday's closer for "The Wire" scored a series-best 4.5 million viewers and a 2.2 rating and 6 share in the key adults 18-49 demographic. Lead-out "Greenlight" didn't fare as well, averaging a solid but not spectacular 2.6 million viewers for the channel. Not surprisingly, "Sex and the City" was the top cable show for the night with 6.9 million viewers and a 3.9 rating and 11 share in adults 18-49.

Across the dial on Comedy Central, week two of the Joe Rogan/Doug Stanhope era of "The Man Show" outperformed last week's premiere in adults 18-49. Sunday's broadcast snared a 1.2 rating in key demographic, up from a 1.1 rating for last week's season premiere. Overall the series drew 1.7 million viewers, on par with the season opener.

Lastly, in other cable ratings news. The summer finale of USA's "Monk" scored its second best numbers to date. Friday's episode snagged 4.4 million viewers and a 1.4 rating and 5 share in adults 18-49. Only its second season premiere ranks higher in both categories in the show's brief history.





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· BOY MEETS BOY (BRAVO)
· MAN SHOW, THE (COMEDY CENTRAL)
· MONK (USA)
· NEWLYWEDS: NICK & JESSICA (MTV)
· PLAYMAKERS (ESPN)
· PROJECT GREENLIGHT (BRAVO)
· QUEER EYE (BRAVO)
· SEX AND THE CITY (HBO)
· WIRE, THE (HBO)









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