Game of Thrones, Ralph Ineson, Alfie Allen

Helen Sloan/HBO

You'd think it'd be impossible to beat The Avengers, but you'd be wrong.

While the blockbuster-dominated summer movie season has been running cold, ratings for the summer TV season have heated up.

A look at some reasons why:

1. Cable's Sunday Night (not Including the MTV Movie Awards): Game of Thrones (4.2 million viewers) and Girls (1.1 million) hit season highs with their finales; Mad Men (2.4 million viewers) was up over last week for Lane's tragic farewell. And as those shows wound down, a new series, Longmire, wound up with a big debut, averaging 4.1 million viewers. As for the MTV Movie Awards, please see below.

2. Kevin Costner: Hatfields & McCoys started record big, and then got bigger. The miniseries' third and final part took aim before 14.3 million, and set yet another cable record.

3. America's Got Talent: Summer's most-watched show is starting to act like its old self. Last night, it hit a new season high: estimated 12.1 million viewers.

4. Dogs in the City: It's not what you'd call a smash hit, but its premiere-night audience of 6.7 million—for a pet show!—demonstrates how TV can still reel 'em in, especially when it's too hot to go outside and/or too expensive to go to the movies.    

5. Pretty Little Liars: True, its third-season opener doesn't air until later tonight, but the show closed out its second season as one of TV's strongest chick magnets. There's no reason to suspect anything's changed in the past three months. 

P.S.: No, the summer TV season has not been without its rough spots, namely, the MTV Movie Awards (3.2 million viewers), which recorded its smallest audience in four years, Touch (4.6 million viewers), which has to be thankful it got renewed before it came up empty in its season finale; and, hockey's Stanley Cup Finals, which Hollywood angle or no, are colder than they've been in years.

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