The summer has become cable's launchpad for new series, and this year is no exception, with some of the networks' biggest launches ever rolling out in the coming weeks. MediaWorks' Summer Shows to Watch kicks off this week with USA's "The Royal Pains," which got off to a strong start with its June 4 premiere.
'The Royal Pains'
When It's Live: Thursdays at 10 p.m. EST
The Cast: Mark Feuerstein (Hank Lawson), Paulo Costanzo (Evan Lawson), Reshma Shetty (Divya), Campbell Scott (Boris), Jill Flint (Jill Casey)
Broadcast Time-slot Competitors: NBC's "The Listener," CBS's "The Mentalist" (repeats), ABC's "Private Practice" (repeats)
The Premise: "The Royal Pains" is that rare medical show that rarely takes place in a hospital. When E.R. doctor Hank Lawson is wrongly accused of causing a patient's death, he flees to the Hamptons, where his makeshift, "MacGyver"-esque medical skills are in surprisingly high demand among well-paid clientele. Airing after the third season of USA's hit series "Burn Notice," it hasn't taken long for this summery show to find a following.
Marketing Highlights: In preparation for the June 4 debut, USA pushed out print, out-of-home, radio and cross-channel promotions, with a few firsts along the way. The network used the copy on its inside-cover magazine ads for "Burn Notice" to draw viewers' attention to its back-cover ads for "Royal Pains." That crossover echoed in on-air spots featuring "Burn Notice" star Jeffrey Donovan doling out advice for to "Royal Pains" lead Mark Feuerstein on the essentials for a long, hot summer. Denizens of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago were also treated to "Royal Pains"-branded ice-cream trucks. Early Hamptons dwellers, meanwhile, saw fully wrapped Hampton Jitney buses bearing the show's poster.
Ad Tie-Ins: Verizon VCast and Grey Goose co-sponsored the show's limited-commercial premiere, with Verizon onboard for season-long integrated billboards and a recurring in-show integration.
The Ratings Outlook: Two episodes into its maiden season, "The Royal Pains" has already achieved a first for a USA original scripted series by growing its audience in its second week, by 2% among adults 18 to 49 and 3% among adults 25 to 54 to 5.6 million total viewers. It even beat predecessor "Burn Notice" in all the key demos, as both delivered more viewers than any new scripted broadcast show the week of June 7. Chris McCumber, USA's exec VP-marketing, digital and brand strategy, was pleasantly surprised with the out-of-the-box success of "Royal Pains," particularly because "we were concerned at launch whether people would want to watch a show about rich people. But pairing this with 'Burn Notice' made for a great duo."