Sagging Peacock holds on

Despite facing Fox’s “Baseball All-Star Game” and falling to its lowest-ever weeklong rating in a non-holiday, non-disrupted week, NBC held onto first place in the July 7-13 primetime Nielsens.

In fact, NBC won the important adults 18-49 demo with a solid 26% advantage over second-place Fox, making it 10 weeks in a row NBC has enjoyed at least a 25% edge in that demo. That’s the longest such streak for any net since at least 1987.

With Fox getting its first crack at the “All-Star Game,” the ABC-CBS-NBC triumvirate predictably took it on the chin last week, again falling to their worst combined rating and share ever in a week not disrupted by political conventions, the Olympics or the July Fourth holiday.

Despite its lowest rating ever, the “All-Star Game” boosted Fox to first for the week in men 18-34 and 18-49, as well as teens.

CBS finished second last week in households and in its target demo, adults 25-54. It’s the fourth time in nine weeks that CBS has grabbed the runner-up spot in that demo (including a tie).

ABC once again fell to the lowest rating for any Big Three network ever in a non-disrupted week, the fourth time this summer it has achieved that dubious distinction.

The biggest ABC problems are on Saturdays, where the Alphabet web last week suffered the single lowest nightlong rating in Big Three history and apparently tied for the lowest-rated non-political primetime hour ever on the Big Three (“Spy Game”).

To keep ABC’s woes in perspective though, the net continues to beat CBS and Fox regularly in the key adults 18-49 demographic. ABC has topped CBS in that demo the past seven weeks, and in 17 of the past 18. Before the “All-Star Game” boosted Fox past ABC last week, the Alphabet net had beaten Fox six weeks in a row in the 18-49 demo.

Still, ABC definitely is pointed in the wrong direction, having experienced steep declines over the past two years. In the seven full weeks since the close of the May sweeps, ABC is down in adults 18-49 by 15% from a year ago and down 28% from two years ago.

Last week’s averages in that 18-49 demo were: NBC, a 4.3 rating, 14 share (down in rating by 10% vs. results for the same week last year, when NBC televised the “All-Star Game”); Fox, 3.4/12 (up 15%); ABC, 3.1/10 (down 18%); CBS, 2.9/10 (down 12%); UPN, 1.5/5 (up 15%); the WB, 1.3/4 (up 8%).


Fox led the night in adults 18-49, but households winner CBS held on to second in that demo. “Touched by an Angel” now has beaten its NBC and ABC competition in their target demo, adults 18-49, five weeks in a row.

At 9 p.m., CBS’ first episode of “The Godfather, Part III” topped the opening ratings of three of six rerun multiple-parters aired by the nets last summer.

The WB’s special Sunday showing of “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” roughly matched what “Steve Harvey” has averaged that hour over the previous three weeks.


CBS swept the night in homes but settled for third in adults 18-49, behind Fox and NBC. The Eye web’s “Walker, Texas Ranger” slipped to its lowest regular-slot rating ever.

“Dangerous Minds” equaled what’s apparently the lowest-ever rating that hour for ABC, and “Spy Game” tied for the lowest-rated non-political primetime hour this decade and probably in Big Three history. The only lower-rated half-hour non-political telecasts in the ’90s have been a pair of summer sitcoms, ABC’s “On the Air” (2.3/7, July 4, 1992) and the NBC pilot “Lookwell” (2.3/5, July 28, 1991).


Though NBC swept the 8-10 p.m. half-hours in homes and key adult demos, “20/20” rallied ABC back into first for the night. ABC’s “T.G.I.F.” sitcoms did dominate the week in kid and teen demos.


“Politically Incorrect” didn’t look ready for primetime, dragging ABC to its lowest 18-49 share for that hour in 13 weeks.

NBC won the night by a colossal 17 shares in adults 18-49. Though it’s blossoming as a new Monday regular, “Suddenly Susan” continues to droop on Thursdays, last week retaining just 80% of its 18-49 lead-in from “Seinfeld.”


ABC dominated Wednesday, though Fox’s “Funniest Party Disasters” rerun took the 8-9 p.m. hour in adults 18-49 by 3 shares.

“Pacific Palisades” dragged Fox into fourth in that demo at 9 p.m.

CBS’ “Cosby” didn’t particularly click as a Wednesday special, losing 10% of its lead-in from “The Nanny.” In that same slot the previous week (against weaker competition), “Everybody Loves Raymond” limited the drop-off to 5%. (“Cosby” did help send slot rival “Coach” to its lowest rating ever.)


Despite an 11% drop from last year’s score, baseball’s “All-Star Game” gave Fox an easy nightlong win with the net’s best Tuesday rating since October’s third game of the World Series. Baseball boosted the night’s rate of homes using TV by 5% vs. the previous Tuesday, up to 56%.

Against that all-star competition, ABC’s “Roseanne,” “Spin City” and “NYPD Blue” all finished fourth in their slots for the first time. NBC took the night in most key female demos.


“Dateline NBC” led the Peacock to another Monday win July 7, its fifth straight in adults 18-49 (Daily Variety, July 9).

Each rating point represents an estimated 970,000 households, or 1% of the country’s TV homes. The share is the same sort of percentage, except that it’s measured only against the households in which TV is being watched during the timeslot involved.

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