‘Bloopers’ buoys NBC

NBC is close to ordering six more episodes of “When Bloopers Attack” from Dick Clark Prods., after the special gave the Peacock its best Wednesday 8-9 p.m. performance this season, aside from the World Series.

Turning reality specials into series is becoming a popular programming trend this season, because the specials are inexpensive to produce and they tend to perform well in just about any timeslot. NBC also has few backup series in development and no confidence that launching a new series immediately behind a failed one would work.

NBC isn’t the only network doing it. CBS ordered 12 episodes of Bill Cosby-hosted “Kids Say the Darndest Things” after two specials generated stellar ratings. The show will likely air on the Eye web’s Friday family lineup. The network also is considering ordering multiple episodes of “Candid Camera,” which gave CBS its first Friday 8 p.m. timeslot win this season last week.

Fox has done very well with its harder-edged and more controversial reality specials, such as “World’s Deadliest Swarms,” although the network so far has no plans to launch them as a weekly series.

On Wednesday, NBC’s “All-Star TV Censored When Bloopers Attack” special averaged a 9.4/15 in homes for the 8 p.m. hour, placing a solid second to ABC’s comedies. In young-adults demos, the special placed third with a 5.3, but still far exceeded the timeslot performance of “The Tony Danza Show” and “Built to Last,” which has been canceled. The network had plunged to fifth and sixth place with those two shows.

Last Friday, CBS’ “Candid Camera” special won its timeslot in both homes (10.6/19) and adults 18-49 (4.8). The special increased the timeslot performance by 51% in homes and 42% in young adults over the same week last year, and it outrated the timeslot average this season with “Family Matters” and “Meego.”

Specials aside, CBS has also ordered its Wednesday drama “Chicago Hope” through the 1998-99 season, and the web has the option to pick it up for two seasons beyond that. CBS is said to be paying $1.6 million an episode for the drama.

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