Even on Cable, the Great Shows Barely Rate with Audiences
The top 20 shows on ad-supported cable channels of the summer are out (excluding children's shows), and the results are somewhat eye-opening. As recent as half an hour ago, when I wrote up the "Sons of Anarchy" review, I suspected that Emmy-winning shows like "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" were real ratings factors on cable. Not so much, it seems (although, to be fair, those shows are on AMC, and AMC is not in a lot of homes. Moreover, "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" do very well on iTunes -- "Mad Men's" latest is the top downloaded episode right now).
As it turns out, cable viewers prefer shitty shows, too. Owning a cable box does not, it seem, empower one with intelligence. The USA Network dominated summer ratings with six top 20 shows, none of which are really that compelling (at least not anymore, "Psych" and "Burn Notice"). "Rizzoli and Isles" was the top rated show on cable, and I have no idea what that is, though I'm guessing it's a procedural. I know that "Deadliest Catch" has a few fans around these parts, but otherwise, the top 20 doesn't hold a lot of intrigue, not unless you love "Jersey Shore." And if you love it unironically, there are lots of great sites out there not called Pajiba that you might be better off reading.
I cannot believe there's a show based on Are We There Yet? and that it does better in the ratings than "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" (which, for the record, rates just under 2 million viewers).
Rizzoli and Isles (TNT): 8.44 million
The Closer (TNT): 8.20 million
Royal Pains (USA): 7.154 million
Burn Notice (USA): 7.151 million
Covert Affairs (USA): 6.74 million
Pawn Stars (History): 6.33 million
Jersey Shore (MTV): 6.07 million
Deadliest Catch (Discovery): 5.92 million
White Collar (USA): 5.28 million
American Pickers (History): 4.98 million
In Plain Sight (USA): 4.93 million
Psych (USA): 4.87 million
Memphis Beat (TNT): 4.59 million
Hot in Cleveland (TV Land): 4.27 million
The Glades (A&E): 3.88 million
Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family): 3.25 million
American Chopper: Senior (TLC): 2.78 million
Are We There Yet? (TBS): 2.72 million
Haven (SyFy): 2.51 million
Top Shot (History): 2.47 million