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USA’s Royal Pains and Necessary Roughness returned to the schedule last night and sort-of crushed on basic cable, pulling in the best viewership for original cable content during primetime. That might sound pretty good, but unfortunately both shows were down in viewership during their premieres last night, despite some interesting guest stars.
Royal Pains premiered its fifth season first, at 9 p.m. ET. USA’s drama, which follows Dr. Hank Lawson, a doctor “for hire” to the rich and wealthy in the Hamptons, did decently in the ratings, bringing 3.7 million total viewers. However, that’s a bit down from the 3.9 million that watched last summer’s Season 4 premiere. According to Deadline, the show was down in the 18-49 demographic, as well, bringing in under a million fans in that demo, which is well down from the 1.24 million last year’s premiere earned. This is a wee bit surprising, especially since the premiere featured Six Feet Under and American Horror Story veteran Frances Conroy.
Necessary Roughness, which follows therapist Dani Santino as she works with patients on a professional football team, was also down in the ratings. Last night’s 10 p.m. ET episode brought in 2.6 million total viewers, which is down from the 3 million Season 2 earned in its premiere. That show was also down in the demo, but the numbers were less stark than USA's other show. In the Season 2 premiere, 999,999 people in the 18-49 demographic showed up. This time around, only 904,000 in the demo showed up, even with the addition of John Stamos. Maybe the show would do better if it actually aired during football season, a la The League.
The real question is whether last night was a fluke or if interest in both shows has waned somewhat. Additionally, fans may have just forgotten to tune if for or DVR USA’s prominent summer shows this week. Nonetheless, both programs are back now, and if you are fans of the show, remember to tune in starting at 9 p.m. on Thursday nights.