Two basic cable channels posted strong quarterly ratings Tuesday, as Bravo marked its best three months ever and TV Land scored its best January-March period since 2006, according to the Nielsen Co.
Bravo averaged 970,000 total viewers and 611,000 among 18-to-49-year-olds in the last quarter, up 28 percent and 35 percent, respectively. It ranked as the No. 11 network in prime time.
The network's record quarter was fueled by hits including the Emmy-winning Top Chef, the top food show on cable among adults aged 18-to-49, and Season 3 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, which delivered the highest-rated season in the Housewives franchise history among all key demos with 3.6 million total viewers and more than 2.5 million in the advertiser-coveted demo. Season 4 of The Millionaire Matchmaker earned its highest-rated season ever with 1.9 million total viewers and 1.3 million in the demo — an increase of 44 percent and 39 percent, respectively.
For TV Land, the ratings boosts came from original series Hot in Cleveland and Retired at 35 as well as the syndicated Everybody Loves Raymond. The network attracted 943,000 total viewers in prime time, 35 percent higher than the same 2010 quarter.
Last year's top cable sitcom, Hot in Cleveland, returned for its second season and averaged 3.1 million total viewers, up 346 percent. TV Land's second original sitcom, Retired at 35, attracted more than 1.6 million total viewers, a 135 percent improvement for the time slot. And Raymond averaged more than a million viewers, up 46 percent.
In other quarterly ratings news, the audience for Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck plummeted 30 percent in average viewership versus the first quarter of 2010. While still far ahead of the competition in the 5-6 p.m. time slot, Beck's show fell from 2.78 million to 1.94 million total viewers. CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer and MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews both rose — the former from 661,000 to 726,000, that latter from 524,000 to 679,000.