Army Wives

Megan Tantillo/Lifetime Television

John McCain and Barack Obama know where the votes viewers are.

The second-season premiere of Lifetime's Army Wives, featuring testimonials from both presidential contenders, soared to the top of the cable ratings.

The Sunday hourlong averaged 4.5 million viewers, per Nielsen Media Research. That's up nearly 30 percent over the show's opener last year, the network said.

Overall, Army Wives finished second among all scripted shows, behind an original episode of USA's Law & Order: Criminal Intent (4.53 million).

Launched in June 2007, Army Wives focuses on civilians who are married to the service, literally. Familiar faces Kim Delaney (NYPD Blue) and Catherine Bell (JAG) are among the stars.

On Sunday, McCain and Obama, themselves familiar faces, were seen in individually taped segments, with both paying tribute to real-life military families.

Republican McCain did his Democratic challenger one better, saying he knows Army Wives has a "lot of twists and turns" because his wife "Cindy makes me watch with her." Earlier this spring, the 71-year-old professed to "never miss an episode of The Hills."

No word on whether Obama plans to start beefing up his viewing habits to keep up with his apparently remote-savvy opponent.

Here are other ratings highlights for the TV week ended Sunday:

  • One thing bigger than Army Wives was the presidential campaign itself. CNN's coverage of Obama's historic, nomination-clinching night speech averaged 4.7 million viewers, making it cable's top prime-time broadcast.
  • The rise of Obama, if not the fall of Hillary Clinton, also made a big night for MSNBC, which averaged 3.5 million viewers for the same hour of coverage.
  • Fox News Channel viewers apparently were more interested in what Bill O'Reilly thought of the Obama speech than in the speech itself, as an O'Reilly Factor that aired the night after the address was the network's top-rated telecast, with 2.8 million viewers.
  • The second-season opener of History Channel's Ice Road Truckers (3.9 million) was cable's most watched reality show not starring Obama, McCain or Clinton.
  • In broadcast TV, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers were good for ABC's business. The first two games of the NBA Finals (first place, 13.5 million for Game 2; second place, 13.4 million for Game 1) were up from last year, though down from the last time the Lakers costarred in the series in 2004.
  • CBS' Million Dollar Password (fifth place, 9.62 million) edged Fox's So You Think You Can Dance (seventh place, 9.56 million for Wednesday's episode; 10th place, 9.3 million for Thursday's episode) and Hell's Kitchen (ninth place, 9.36 million) as the week's most watched summer show.
  • On Thursday, the freethinking folks of CBS' Swingtown (14th place, 8.6 million) outdid the horror mongers of NBC's new anthology series Fear Itself (41st place, 5.3 million).
  • Even more impressive, Swingtown finished in the top 10 among envious young adults, aged 18-49.
  • The series-clinching Game 6 of hockey's Stanley Cup Finals (24th place, 6.8 million) was up a mere, oh, 111 percent from the sport's last Game 6 in 2006, NBC said.
  • Even more impressive, both Game 5 and Game 6 of the Stanley Cup series finished in the top 10 among 18-to-49-year-olds.
  • The two NBA Finals games, by the way, were the two most-watched shows in that apparently diverse demographic.

In the network races, CBS won the week in total viewers, averaging 7.2 million viewers; Fox, which didn't air basketball, hockey or Swingtown, managed nonetheless to capture the flag among young adults.

In a rarity, all four networks were up in viewers when compared to the same summer week last year.

In cable, USA (2.6 million) was the most watched prime-time network, followed by Disney Channel (2.1 million) and TNT (1.9 million).

Here's a look at the 10 most-watched broadcast network prime-time shows for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research:

  1. NBA Finals Game 2 (Los Angeles vs. Boston), ABC, 13.5 million
  2. NBA Finals Game 1 (Los Angeles vs. Boston), ABC, 13.4 million
  3. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 9.81 million viewers
  4. 60 Minutes, CBS, 9.8 million viewers
  5. Million Dollar Password, CBS, 9.62 million viewers
  6. CSI, CBS, 9.6 million viewers
  7. So You Think You Can Dance (Wednesday), Fox, 9.56 million viewers
  8. House, Fox, 9.4 million viewers
  9. Hell's Kitchen, Fox, 9.36 million viewers
  10. So You Think You Can Dance (Thursday), Fox, 9.3 million viewers
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