The farewell to Phil Harris on “Deadliest Catch” Tuesday scored the biggest audience in the show’s history and dominated an uncommonly busy night for original series on cable.
Tuesday (July 13) also saw the return of “White Collar” and the premiere of “Covert Affairs” on USA, the series finale of “The Hills” on MTV and originals on TNT, ABC Family and FX. Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch,” however, beat all of them.
Harris’ final episode drew 8.5 million viewers, the best ever for the show and among the most-watched programs in the history of Discovery. The followup discussion show “After the Catch,” which featured a New Orleans jazz funeral for Harris, brought in 6.8 million people. Both shows also scored very well in the adults 18-49 demographic (3.9 and 3.2).
The big numbers for “Deadliest Catch” may have put a bit of a damper on “White Collar’s” return. The USA series still drew a solid 4.3 million viewers, but that was down from the 5 million-plus for its debut last fall. Newbie “Covert Affairs” did better, grabbing 4.9 million viewers for its series premiere.
“The Hills,” meanwhile, delivered 3 million viewers for its final, maybe-we-were-faking-it-the-whole-time episode on MTV. That was a big improvement over the Season 5 finale, but at its best the show was drawing better than 5 million viewers — so MTV’s decision to cut ties probably makes sense.
The finale lead-in helped propel “The City” to 2.3 million viewers, its biggest audience ever.