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New season of 'Deadliest Catch' hauls in big ratings

April 13, 2011 |  5:31 pm

Deadliest Fans of Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" said goodbye to salty fishing boat captain Phil Harris at the end of last season, but they came back to the show in droves Tuesday night.

The seventh season premiere was one of the series' highest rated episodes, with more than 4.3 million viewers. It was the top-rated prime-time show on cable with total viewers and with the advertiser-coveted 18-49-year-old demographic (both men and women). It pulled in stronger numbers than several of the broadcast networks, particularly with men 18-49, and helped Discovery land at the top of the prime-time cable heap for the night with total viewers, men and women 18-49 and women 25-54.

The episode, called "New Blood," rejoined the crab boat Cornelia Marie, where Harris had been captain, and the rest of the fleet as his crew set his ashes out to sea. And in the typical sentimental yet manly fashion that's become the series' hallmark, the crew set off fireworks and shot their pistols as a tribute.

Harris died last season after suffering a stroke. His two sons, Josh and Jake, remain with the Cornelia Marie, and Tuesday's episode was their first voyage with new captain Derrick Ray, and not their father, at the helm.

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The death of Phil Harris is met with tributes

Phil Harris' final moments on "The Deadliest Catch"

The rest of "The Deadliest Catch" season devoted to Phil Harris

-- T.L. Stanley

Photo: Jake and Josh. Credit: Discovery Channel.

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