‘Whose’ hot; ‘Eric’ not

'Dateline' sinks 'Primetime'

NBC’s animated import ”Stressed Eric” is off to an unimpressive start, while slot rival ”Whose Line Is It Anyway” is looking like the hit of the summer.

In the Wednesday, Aug. 12, Nielsens, ABC’s second episode of ”Whose Line” (7.9 rating, 14 share) improved by a stellar 17% on its adults 18-49 lead-in from ”The Drew Carey Show” (7.3/13 in homes), the best build ABC has seen in the 21 months since ”Drew” moved into the Wednesday 9-9:30 p.m. half-hour.

Meanwhile, ”Stressed Eric,” a British series featuring the dubbed-in voice of U.S. actor Hank Azaria, debuted on NBC with a 5.1/9, down 14% in adults 18-49 from its lead-in, ”3rd Rock From the Sun” (5.8/10 in homes). ”Eric’s” predecessor in that 9:30-10 p.m. half-hour, ”Working,” had averaged a 21% improvement on its 18-49 lead-in from ”3rd Rock” this summer (while consistently facing weaker competition).

Percentage performance

”Whose Line’s” 17% build looks spectacular vs. the 30% fall-off in the slot earlier this summer for ”Ellen” and a 19% drop-off during the spring from ”Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place,” a performance deemed so promising at the time that ABC renewed ”Pizza” for the fall.

Among men 18-34, the Aug. 12 episode of ”Whose Line” built by 37% on its ”Drew” lead-in.

”Whose Line’s” success is particularly heartening to ABC, coming one night after a significant Alphabet disappointment from firstrun summer series ”Maximum Bob,” which dropped from its premiere-episode 8.1/14 to a second-week 6.5/12.

‘Dateline’ slam-dunk

Wednesday at 10 p.m., a special ”Dateline NBC” (9.7/17) sunk slot rival ”Primetime Live” (7.8/14) to its lowest rating since February’s Olympics. A dive to the remains of the Titanic buoyed ”Dateline’s” teen share to a spectacular 21, more than triple ”Primetime’s” 6 and 50% better than any other net telecast that night.

Each household rating point represents an estimated 980,000 homes, or 1% of the country’s TV households. A share is the same sort of percentage, except it’s measured against only the homes in which TV is being watched during the timeslot involved.

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