Our friend Brian Stelter at the New York Times has a nice feature on how some of the bigger cable channels are doing this summer. He notes that overall, summer viewing is flat among advertising supported basic cable, but up 5% among the biggest 10 channels -- and that's even with primetime champ USA actually down 4% from last summer in viewing and down 13% with adults 18-49. Despite the year over year decrease, USA is still consistently #1 in primetime with viewers and adults 18-49 (here's the most recent weekly rankings).
But History is having an especially good summer, up 31% according to the article. usually #1 in primetime
But the best part of the article for me was this quote from FX chief John Landgraf that somehow I missed when reading through the TCA transcripts.
Speaking to TV critics in Los Angeles this month, John Landgraf, the president of FX, said cable had become a “much more crowded marketplace” in the last 10 years. When FX’s groundbreaking series “The Shield” started in 2002, “there were about 40 scripted original series in all of cable,” he said. “And now there are 140.”
People often complain about the abundance of reality shows, but the fact is, there's more scripted content than ever.
Note the numbers cited in the article for the Rizzoli & Isles premiere (over 9 million) are definitely the live+7 numbers. And the average for Memphis Beat cited (over 4 million) must be "most current" (a week's worth of DVR where those #s are available, and same day DVR where they're not). The numbers for Covert Affairs noted seem to be the Live+SD averages.