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'Nip/Tuck' Wraps Strong First Season for FX

11/02/2003 7:00 PM Eastern

The first season of FX's Nip/Tuck is in the books, and its performance sliced up basic cable.

Going head to head with Game 3 of the Major League Baseball World Series, among other broadcast network fare, Nip/Tuck pulled a 2.7 household rating during its first-season finale on Oct. 21, to finish its rookie year with a 3.0 mark for premiere episodes, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

FX said that topped MTV: Music Television's Nick and Jessica:
, with a 2.5 through Oct. 21 (including a 2.6 for its finale the same night and a 3.0 against its 12-to-34 target); USA Network's Peacemakers (2.4); MTV's Punk'd (2.4); and Bravo's Queer Eye For The Straight Guy (2.3) as basic-cable's highest-rated new shows so far this year.

The plastic-surgeon drama also led frosh series among total viewers (3.25 million on average), adults 18 to 49 (2.19 million) and adults 25 to 54 (2.18 million).

Relative to all original series, Nip/Tuck finished second on a household basis to USA's Monk (3.4 average), according to FX.

It was fourth with total viewers (behind Monk, TLC's Trading Spaces and FX's The Shield); second to The Shield (2.21 million) among adults 18-49; and No. 3 with adults 25-54 (Trading Spaces had 2.22 million, ahead of The Shield's 2.19 million).

FX CEO Peter Liguori said the storylines and overall quality of Nip/Tuck held up throughout its first season.

"Ten out of 13 episodes produced a 3.0 or better, topped by a 3.5 for its ninth episode," he said. "This speaks to the loyalty of the audience."

Liguori conceded the last few episodes — particularly the 11th episode, which recorded a 2.4 — suffered against Fox's coverage of the MLB playoffs.

Liguori also noted that Nip/Tuck's run coincided with Newlyweds and Queer Eye, as Tuesday nights continue as a stronghold for original cable series.

"Overall, this has been a victory for cable and our affiliates," he said. "It shows the kind of return on investment original programming can have when we're lucky enough to find that right creative magic."

Looking ahead, FX will launch Todd TV early next year. Senior vice president of public relations Jon Solberg said the network has ordered seven one-hour installments from Endemol (Big Brother, Fear Factor).

In this show, the audience will influence the star's real-life decisions — should he quit his job, or get back together with his girlfriend — and the next installment's direction via choices provided by the producers. Viewer votes will likely be tallied by a telephone call-in mechanism.

Freshman Series
Show Rating Viewers
Household ratings and viewership averages pertain to premiere installments that aired from Jan. 1 through Oct. 21.
Source: FX analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.
Nip/Tuck (FX) 3.0 3.25 mil.
Newlyweds (MTV) 2.5 2.68 mil.
Peacemakers (USA) 2.4 2.90 mil.
Punk'd (MTV) 2.4 2.78 mil.
Queer Eye (Bravo) 2.3 2.45 mil.


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