CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- With the 2003-04 season officially kicking off next week, the various cable networks are clamouring to get themselves noticed before the broadcast networks start to steal their thunder. Here's a look at the results from some of cable's latest originals:
-- The summer finale of HBO's "Sex and the City" saw the comedy hit a season high 7.7 million viewers, up from its previous peak of 7.4 million for its season premiere. Even better, "Sex" managed a 4.0 rating and 10 share in adults 18-49, good enough to take the 9:00/8:00c half-hour across all networks, broadcast and cable. Look for the final eight episodes of the comedy in January.
-- "Sex's" strong finish helped the launches of HBO's latest entries "Carnivale" and "K Street." 5.3 million viewers watched the opener to the former, making "Carnivale's" start the most watched in HBO's history, beating the previous network record of 5.0 million for the premiere "Six Feet Under." Among adults 18-49, "Carnivale" scored a 2.6 rating and 7 share, falling short of only NBC and CBS across all networks. The pay channel closed the night with 3.0 million viewers for "K Street," on par with former time slot holder "Project Greenlight's" average there this summer. The second season of "Greenlight" opened to 3.5 million viewers and wrapped with 2.6 million.
-- Despite being in its third week, Spike TV's "The Joe Schmo Show" audience grew to 1.2 million viewers, up 54% from its debut. Among Spike TV's target demographic, men 18-49, "Joe" nabbed a 1.1 rating (556,000 viewers), up 20% for its second consecutive week. "Joe" also fared well in adults 18-49, scoring a 0.8 rating (848,000 viewers), up 33% from last week and 60% from its premiere. The series airs Tuesdays at 9:00/8:00c.
-- Meanwhile, FX's "Nip/Tuck" continued to amaze this week as the show's eighth episode on Tuesday almost won its time slot in adults 18-49 (2.4 million viewers) and adults 25-54 (2.3 million), as it finished second only to NBC's repeat of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." Overall, "Nip/Tuck" pulled in 3.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched show on cable that night. Since bowing in July, the series has averaged a stellar 2.2 million viewers in adults 18-49, 2.2 million in adults 25-54, and a 3.04 household rating.