TBS Brings the Ratings 'Payne'

TBS' unprecedented 100-episode order for Tyler Perry's sitcom "House of Payne" is starting to look like a pretty shrewd investment.

The second of two episodes in Wednesday's premiere was the most-watched series telecast in the cable network's history, drawing 5.8 million viewers. It was also the highest-rated sitcom ever aired on ad-supported cable. The show's 9 p.m. ET debut pulled in 5.2 million people, making it No. 2 in basic-cable sitcom history.

"Tyler Perry has once again proven he has a Midas touch when it comes to creating popular entertainment, and we are thrilled that TBS is the current exclusive home of 'House of Payne,'" says Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. "[Wednesday] night's record-breaking performance has gotten TBS' summer of new sitcom premieres off to a roaring start."

"House of Payne's" second episodes also set TBS records for adults 18-49 (3.06 million) and adults 18-34 (1.42 million). In the 18-49 demographic, the episode ranks as the top episode of a scripted series on basic cable this year.

In an unusual arrangement, TBS committed to 100 episodes of Perry's show before it hit the air. The network has exclusive rights to it for the next year, after which it will go into syndication on FOX-owned stations.

The show stars Allen Payne ("Crossover," "The Tuskegee Airmen"), LaVan Davis (Perry's "Daddy's Little Girls") and Cassi Davis ("Madea's Family Reunion") as members of a multi-generational family living in the same house. Perry is primarily remaining behind the camera, though he guest-starred in the premiere as his alter ego Madea.