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‘Monk’ episode sets viewership records

The strong summer for original cable series continued last week as the USA Network’s “Monk” set viewership records.

Nearly 6.4 million viewers tuned into the show’s fourth-season premiere on Friday, making it the most-watched cable program of the week by a wide margin.

It’s also the biggest audience ever for the show – something few series, cable or broadcast, accomplish in their fourth years.

The episode, which featured Jason Alexander (“Seinfeld,” “Listen Up”) as a rival detective who’s as slovenly as Monk (Tony Shalhoub) is obsessively clean, also beat nearly all of its broadcast competition Friday. Only two shows that aired during prime time that night, ABC’s “20/20” and NBC’s “Dateline,” drew more viewers.

USA’s “The 4400” debuted to 5.3 million viewers in June and is averaging about 4 million per week. TNT’s crime drama “The Closer” drew more than 5 million viewers in each of its first three episodes (before taking a hit on the July 4 holiday), and the network’s “Into the West” also has drawn solid numbers.

Cook comes to ‘Vegas’

Rachael Leigh Cook has finally found a home – at least temporarily – on network television.

The “She’s All That” film star will have a recurring part on NBC’s “Las Vegas” this season. She’ll play a real-estate agent who becomes a potential love interest for Danny McCoy (Josh Duhamel).

Cook is the second well-known actress to join “Las Vegas” for the coming season, the show’s third. Lara Flynn Boyle (“The Practice”) will be a regular, playing the new owner of the Montecito Hotel and Casino.

Cook’s episodes are scheduled to run early in the season. What her character’s presence means for the on-and-off relationship between Danny and his longtime friend and co-worker, Mary Connell (Nikki Cox), is being kept quiet for now.

In addition to “She’s All That,” Cook has starred in “Josie and the Pussycats” and is part of the large cast of TNT’s “Into the West.”

 

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