Catherine Bell of 'Army Wives'

Catherine Bell of 'Army Wives'

The second-season premiere of "Army Wives" followed in the footsteps of the series debut a year ago, setting ratings records for Lifetime.

About 4.5 million people watched the premiere Sunday night (June 8), making the episode the most-watched original series telecast in the cable channel's history (a record previously held by "The Division," which drew 4 million viewers in February 2002). The episode also set Lifetime marks for ratings among the network's core audience of women 18-49 and 25-54.

The premiere also represented a 29-percent increase over last year's premiere, which at 3.5 million viewers stands as the best series opener Lifetime has ever had. Sunday's episode also posted big gains in all the relevant female demographics, including a 61-percent jump among women 18-34.

Cable series not on Lifetime enjoyed a pretty decent Sunday night as well. The return of new episodes of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" on USA also drew about 4.5 million viewers, an improvement of about 800,000 over the show's network debut last fall.

A new season of "Ice Road Truckers" on the History Channel also brought in a sizable audience, averaging 3.9 million viewers. That compares favorably to the 3.4 million viewers who tuned into the series premiere last year.