BURN NOTICE Pulls In 7.6 Million Viewers, Is NBC Jealous?

News spread fast that USA’s BURN NOTICE pulled in 7.6M viewers for its Season Finale.  I keep hearing or reading about some people thinking this is something that NBC would be jealous of.  Is it?

Not really. However USA has to be extremely happy with the numbers.  BURN NOTICE continues to just grow and grow for them.  It was considered big when they topped 6M, and here they are at 7.6M and the show currently has no signs that it will quit growing.  USA and cable in general continue to show market growth.  USA in particular seems to be doing extremely well with their new show ROYAL PAINS.

BURN NOTICE premiered in 2007 for USA with only 4 Million viewers.  It wasn’t exactly considered a huge hit, because just one year earlier PSYCH had premiered to 6.1 Million viewers.    It did finish strong with 4.8M viewers but remained behind MONK and PSYCH in popularity on USA.

What a difference 2 years makes.  MONK remains a solid performer (averages around 5.3M viewers) along with PSYCH pulling in decent numbers (generally averaging around 4.6M viewers) but BURN NOTICE kept growing. Season 2 premiered with the largest audience to date at the time with 5.3M viewers and it finished the season with 6.1M viewers.  Then came season 3 which premiered to 6M and ended its summer run with 7.6M.  The 6.2M it has averaged for the 3rd season make it the most watched show on USA.

NBC on the other hand has to wonder what BURN NOTICE would have done on the Peacock.  I’ve personally thought it had a much better chance than MONK (the previous “hit,” show on USA) at getting viewers on “regular,” TV.  MONK and PSYCH have both been tested on NBC (and MONK started on ABC if my memory isn’t too foggy) unsuccessfully.  BURN NOTICE however is a much easier sell.  I’ve often joked that if it was on CBS it would have 15M viewers.

However the sad fact remains that the 7.6M total viewers who tuned in to BURN NOTICE on Thursday provided numbers that were higher than the series averages of a vast majority of NBC shows from last season.  In fact it nearly matched 30 ROCK’s average for last season.  The numbers in the 18-49 range however are not anything NBC would like to duplicate.  The show pulled a 2.1 which is something NBC wouldn’t really be jealous of.

All this talk proves is just how bad NBC has fallen.  It also helps show why the recent decision of Jeff Gaspin as the new head of NBC was made.  Gaspin oversaw the rise of USA and in particular helped BURN NOTICE blossom.  It should be interesting to see if NBC can find any a way to stimulate growth the way USA has.

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14 responses to “BURN NOTICE Pulls In 7.6 Million Viewers, Is NBC Jealous?

  1. Burn Notice is a great show, and the mid-season finale was a kick-butt intense episode that ended up totally reversing the situation set up in the recent episodes. The only way they could have made it more intense is having one of the main characters get killed which thankfully didn’t happen.

    I love this show (and Gabrielle Anwar in particular).

  2. Oh USA…. I am thrilled that NBC has sacked Silverman, but I am just sad that it was too late to give any love to Journeyman or Life.

    We DVR Burn Notice, and now Royal Pains, and love them both. Right now, SyFy (ick to the new ‘name’), USA, & Bravo are waaaaaaaay more interesting than anything NBC has thrown at us. Or, anything that NBC has pimped in the past few years. Leno can suck it, and like I said before, Life and Journeyman kicked ass. At least they saved Chuck. I would love to be ‘In Love’ with NBC again. Here’s hoping that Jeff can turn the ship around.

  3. I’ll bet even ABC’s and Fox’s new shows will have trouble pulling in those kinds of ratings on a steady basis this fall. I’ve never watched Burn Notice, but I continue to be stymied at the ratings Royal Pains pulls in, which is a very hit and miss show IMO. Some weeks it’s pretty great – others, meh.

    It’s kind of sad how far NBC has fallen. Do they even have one hit scripted veteran show left by now? Nick, maybe you should call them about that reviving Firefly idea. For real. (Sort of half-kidding here but with the sad state of the network, practically not).

  4. Pingback: Burn Notice » Current News Trends

  5. More than anything else on the air Burn Notice reminds me of all the great 80s show I grew up with: Equalizer, A-Team, MacGyver, etc.

    An old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness, good hero who helps people in need.

    Maybe that’s why it connects with people.

    When NBC revamped their Bionic Woman franchise they made it dark and brooding to fit recent trends. Maybe they need to take the route that BN took, and give us heroes that aren’t dark and brooding.

    Look at Royal Pains: another show with a decent person as the hero. A selfless person.

    Is that what people are responding to?

  6. I watched for the fist time during last week’s marathon. Compelling storyline, but the quality of the acting and writing is pretty inconsistent. Scene to scene it ranges from average to “I didn’t realize I’m watching a Steven Segal movie.”

    I’m willing to to put most blame on the directing and editing, but did the writers need to make Sam a walking stereotype?

  7. Mike, well I believe Sam is a walking stereotype for a reason, it’s Bruce “The Chin,” Campbell. They’re playing off his fan base, because he was the only one with an active fan base when the show started. Although now Gabrielle Anwar and bikini seem to be top search items.

    I have been unimpressed with recent episodes with the loan exception being the last one and the one where the arms dealer comes back in town to take Michael’s brother hostage. The rest have been some of the worst of the series so far.

    The 2nd season had some truly great episodes that made it one of the best shows on TV. This season has been a lot of mediocrity. Still mediocre BURN NOTICE is better than a lot of crap on TV, especially summer crap.

    ROYAL PAINS has been an even huger disappointment to me. It started strong, but as you mentioned about BURN NOTICE the quality is either one way or the other with little to no in between. I understand that show is still finding its legs, but I hope they realize what the good episodes were.

  8. Nick C. I’m not saying this to butter your muffin, but I would have to agree with you. I got “onto” Burn Notice through either your site or TVBTN or both – I can’t remember. I bought the DVDs for the first two seasons and thought the show was very good.

    This season, however, has been somewhat disappointing. Perhaps sometimes a series goes through a “sophomore slump” (delayed a year). I sort of fell off the Burn Notice bandwagon and haven’t watched episodes lately. I’ll probably wind up buying Season 3 on DVD and then one free day just sit down and do a Burn Notice Marathon.

    Royal Pains I’ve never watched. Only have so much time in the day/evening and so that one didn’t make the list. If I keep hearing good/great things about it, it might be one of those shows I pick up on DVD at some point in the future.

    I’m not a Nielsen box holder, but I may fall into the category of a thread you started recently about how people watching shows on DVD may be “killing” certain shows – or at least I think you had some kind of thread like that.

    Oh, and back to your original “thread starter.” Should NBC be jealous of Burn Notice’s numers. Simply stated, YES they should!!

    Thanks again, Nick C., for keeping up this blog. I’m not a groupie, but I’ll let you know – YOU ROCK!!

    Peace, all – and a happy and restful Sunday!

  9. I try to be a polite poster so I will just say that I bought Season 1+2 due to recommendations at a few blogger sites and I just didn’t get the big deal.

    At first the spy quips were really funny but after a while Michael seems to repeat himself a lot. He never seemed that interested in Fiona, in fact their chemistry is just not very exciting to me and that is definitely not Fiona’s fault. The bad guys are stereotypical street punks and the scenes with the mother don’t interest me.

    I could go on but there is no point because apparently people do dig this show and I am not one to try to be a downer on other fans. It just is not my cup of tea.

  10. Nick, I have to agree with you about Royal Pains. Personally, I don’t think the show will ever get any better than how it is now because it’s too limited. They can’t fully go the way of the medical mystery plot because then it’s a House rip-off. They can’t go fully relationship drama because then it’s a Grey’s rip-off. Really all they can do is try to keep it what it is now: a few quirks and medical stuff thrown in wherever with a pinch of the romantic drama here and there.

    The interesting thing about the show is that its supporting and recurring characters and subplots are far more interesting to me than the bland lead and the medical mystery A-plot they show every week. I would much rather see more Boris, Divvya, Evan, Tucker and Abby and their plots than the snoozefest that is Hank and Jill’s on/off relationship.

  11. I think BURN NOTICE goes as far as the Sam Axe character takes it. Michael is very “bland,” for a character who takes on so many personas. Fiona is a 1 dimensional character and all the better for it. The Sam/Fiona relationship is far more interesting than many other aspects of the show. Their bickering and still getting things done is just more entertaining.

    When Sam is poorly written or written as a second thought for an episode it seems to be a bad episode. They also seem to be the episodes where the mother is placed in a primary spot. I don’t mind her in small doses, but large doses kill an episode.

  12. Nick C,i’m putting Burn Notice on my Netflix Cue,i’m gonna try it!I’m a Bruce Campbell fan as it is….

  13. I have to agree, I’ve never liked the bits with Sharon Gless, although occasionally they provide some “human interest” – which, however, is not something I watch a spy show for.

    And it’s true Westen tends not to behave towards Fiona as if he really cares for her. The exception being the mid-season finale where he blew away – literally – his chance to get back in to protect her. That revealed a more human, less tamped down side to Mike. One of the few other times he’s done that is when he thought she got caught in that bomb-maker’s burning house.

    Bruce Campbell is SO good as Sam that Nick is right, the better episodes have a large dose of Sam. Episodes with a lot of Fiona are good, too, and not just because she dresses so hot.

    This season has been a bit more serious and less humorous than the first two seasons and also wandered a bit more. But the last couple episodes have been pretty good, especially the mid-season finale. Presumably the whole problem of the new trouble Mike is in will occupy several episodes when it returns.

  14. Nick, this is only tenuously related, but do you know what Dead Zone and The 4400’s ratings were the season USA killed them? And how far they’d fallen from previous seasons?