Fox picks up demo ‘Intensity’

NBC has won the Aug. 4-10 primetime Nielsens race, but with the Peacock’s slimmest margin of victory among adults 18-49 in 14 weeks.

Boosted by the powerful two-parter “Intensity,” as well as Monday’s “Scariest Police Chases” and solid Saturday and Sunday demo wins, Fox rallied within a half-point of NBC in adults 18-49. Discarding each night’s 10-11 p.m. hour (not programmed by Fox), the NBC margin of victory shrinks to 0.2 rating points.

The firstrun “Intensity” also boosted Fox to first for the week in men 18-34 and 18-49, as well as first in men 25-54 when counting only the 15 “common time” hours programmed by Fox. “Intensity” improved on Fox’s summer average for those two timeslots by a composite 62% in adults 18-49 and 48% in households.

While maintaining its No. 1 position, NBC continues to run far behind year-ago figures (down 16% in households last week). For the previous three weeks, year-to-year comparisons with the Olympics explained NBC’s big declines. For the Aug. 4-10 week, the falloff may result from NBC’s loss of the post-Olympics momentum it enjoyed last year, as well as some tougher competition this year (especially from Fox) and less aggressive programming by NBC.

Averaging together the 11 post-season weeks to date, Fox is running 19% ahead of its 18-49 rating from a year ago, when Fox programmed more passively and ran a weak fourth in the key 18-49 demo. By comparison, each of the Big Three is down this summer, NBC by 31% (largely due to year-ago Olympics telecasts), ABC by 11% and CBS by 3%.

Last week’s adults 18-49 averages were: NBC, a 4.3 rating, 14 share (down in rating by 22% vs. results for the same week last year); Fox, 3.8/13 (up 52%); ABC, 3.6/12 (down 10%); CBS, 2.9/9 (down 15%); UPN, 1.6/5 (up 23%); WB, 1.1/4 (down 15%). UPN has topped rival netlet WB in this demo 52 weeks in a row.

Monday

On Monday of this week, NBC’s team again outscored football, with “Dateline” (11.7 rating, 21 share) providing the decisive points.

ABC’s Philadelphia-Pittsburgh gridcast (7.9/14) was down, but just slightly, from comparable week-ago and year-ago 18-49 results.

Sunday

Fox’s regulars led in adults 18-49 while CBS prevailed in homes.

The first half of CBS’ “Dazzle” finished fourth out of the six first episodes of rerun multiple-parters aired on the nets so far this summer.

Saturday

Fox led in adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54, and even claimed a rare Saturday households win when counting just its 8-10 p.m block. CBS’ 8-11 p.m. average was higher, despite the lowest-rated “Early Edition” to date and a repeat Disney skating spec that fell to CBS’ worst rating that hour since Sept. 12, 1992 (U.S. Open tennis).

Friday

ABC won Friday for an eighth straight week in homes and adults 18-49 (including two ties with NBC in 18-49). In its second try, CBS’ “Ordinary/Extraordinary” nearly won its hour in adults 18-49.

“Ordinary” finished just 0.1 rating points behind ABC’s sitcoms in that demo, up 13% over its premiere 18-49 rating the previous week.

Thursday

NBC’s lineup lapped the competition without breaking a sweat, despite slowing 12% vs. year-ago 18-49 results. “Men Behaving Badly” continued to build momentum toward its fall switch to Sundays, improving by a best-yet 6% on its 18-49 lead-in from “Friends.”

“Promised Land” reached its intended fall timeslot with CBS’ best adults 18-49 rating in that slot in five weeks. At 9 p.m., “Diagnosis Murder” has improved solidly on the demos of slot predecessor “Moloney.”

Wednesday

Part two of “Intensity” won the night for Fox in adults 18-49 and swept its two-hour slot in the 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 breakouts for men, women and adults. It was Fox’s top-rated made-for in adults 18-49 since “Tornado,” (May 7, 1996).

Aided by an extra “Drew Carey,” ABC took the night in households.

CBS’ “Murphy Brown” quickly firmed up its figures after two flabby performances on the Wednesday sked, last week retaining a credible 93% of its 18-49 lead-in from “The Nanny.”

A two-hour “Sentinel” captured UPN’s best Wednesday rating in seven weeks, while “Star Trek: Voyager” tried a Tuesday launch and crashed to its second-lowest rating ever.

Tuesday

ABC beat NBC in adults 18-49 for the first time in 12 Tuesdays.

The Peacock’s “Just Shoot Me” misfired with a weak 83% retention of its 18-49 lead-in from “Frasier,” NBC’s worst retention in that slot since June ’96 (“John Larroquette”).

ABC’s “Spin City” again capitalized on “Shoot’s” low-caliber competition, as “Spin” topped its “Home Improvement” 18-49 lead-in for the first time ever. Ironically, the struggling “Shoot” is skedded to stay in that slot this fall, while the rallying “Spin” is moving to the Wednesday sked.

Fox tied NBC for second in adults 18-49 with its firstrun “Intensity, Part 1,” up a stunning 15% over what Fox Tuesday pix averaged in the regular season, as well as up 84% vs. year-ago programming (a rerun of “White Dwarf”).

In the first try in its planned fall timeslot, “JAG” improved by 14% on the post-season adults 25-54 average of slot predecessor “Promised Land.” Among men 18-49 and 25-54, “JAG” achieved CBS’ best results in that slot in 20 weeks.

Monday

On Aug. 4, NBC’s current schedule surged to its best numbers to date against ABC’s first Monday gridcast of the year (Daily Variety, Aug. 6). UPN finished second from 8-10 p.m. among kids and teens.

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