ABC streaks to a hot win

Eye has top skeins with 'Survivor,' 'Big,' but loses week

HOLLYWOOD — ABC is beginning to take control of the summer ratings wars, last week winning for the sixth time in seven weeks in total viewers and for the third time in four tries in adults 18-49.

Led by three original episodes of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” the Alphabet web had little problem disposing of second-place CBS for the week of Aug. 7-13. According to Nielsen, ABC topped the Eye by an average of about 1.1 million viewers (9.94 million to 8.87 million) and by three-tenths of a ratings point in the key advertiser demo (3.4/11 to 3.1/10).

The Eye web once again had the top two programs of the week in adults 18-49 — Wednesday’s “Survivor” (12.1/38) and “Big Brother” (8.1/23) — but settled for just ho-hum results the rest of the frame. Still, it finished a solid second in the demo for a third straight week.

ABC, which won the regular season in both viewers and adults 18-49, has now reasserted itself in the dog days of summer. The net aired six of the week’s 10 most-watched programs and placed five in the demo top 10.

The Alphabet was the only major net to improve vs. the same week a year ago in viewers (up 15%), while the Eye was the lone gainer in adults 18-49 (up 15%).

NBC recovered from its lowest-rated week on record, but could do no better than third in viewers (7.75 million) or adults 18-49 (3.0/9, just a tick behind CBS) — the Peacock’s second-lowest scores of the summer.

Fox is having a generally down summer, but is consistently winning in its target demo of adults 18-34. The return of football also boosted the net on Sunday, where it won in 18-49 for just the second time since May.

Broadcast nets’ adults 18-49 averages for Aug. 7-13: ABC, a 3.4 rating/11 share (down 3% in rating vs. the same week a year ago); CBS, 3.1/10 (up 15%); NBC, 3.0/9 (down 3%); Fox, 2.7/9 (down 4%); UPN, 1.4/4 (up 56%); the WB, 1.1/3 (down 8%); Pax, 0.3/1 (even).

In homes: ABC, 6.9/13 (up 15%); CBS, 6.2/11 (down 6%); NBC, 5.5/10 (down 8%); Fox, 3.8/7 (down 14%); UPN, 2.2/4 (up 29%); the WB, 1.7/3 (down 26%); Pax, 1.0/2 (even).

Adults 18-49 averages for the top cable services: HBO, 1.2/4 (up 9%); TNT, 1.0/3 (up 43%); USA, 0.9/3 (down 10%); TBS, 0.8/3 (down 11%); Lifetime, 0.6/2 (even), tied with Discovery Channel, 0.6/2 (up 20%).


ABC took Aug. 14 in viewers (8.51 million) and adults 18-49 (3.5/11) although its second NFL preseason game (Super Bowl rematch of Rams-Titans) slipped to lowest-ever marks. Its 6.6/12 homes rating fell 10% below the July 31 Patriots-49ers matchup (7.3/13). (Both games have been blowouts and early 7 p.m. ET starts).

ABC edged NBC in the Democratic convention battle (5.99 million vs. 5.95).


For the second straight week, a TNT pic — this time the Tom Selleck starrer “Running Mates” — made life tough on the broadcast nets. “Mates” averaged 5.89 million viewers from 8-10 p.m., topping NBC (5.54 million)..

A 15-minute Packers-Broncos overrun provided Fox the extra young-male aud it needed to tie ABC for the night in adults 18-49 (3.8/11) — Fox’s best score of the summer and its second first-place finish.

“The Simpsons” (5.3/16) and “Malcolm in the Middle” (4.7/13) each hit summer highs, with the former ranking as the week’s top comedy.

ABC claimed its share of first place despite a weak perf from firstrun “Wonderful World of Disney” pic “New Adventures of Spin & Marty” (6.44 million, 2.0/6 in A18-49). Net also won in total viewers (12 million) for the sixth time in seven weeks, led by “Millionaire” (21.66 million, 6.6/17 in A18-49).


Fox won in adults 18-49 (3.2/12) for the sixth straight week, led by the top “Cops” score (3.3/12) since June 3.

ABC’s repeat spec “America’s Funniest Homes: Tribute to Moms” delivered the net’s best 10 p.m. Saturday scores this summer (7.98 million, 3.4/11 in A18-49).


NBC won the night in viewers (8.65 million) and adults 25-54 (3.3/11) while tying ABC for the lead in adults 18-49 (2.8/10).

CBS got sacked back to fourth place by its first NFL preseason telecast of the season (5.44 million, 1.9/7 in A18-49). Giants-Jaguars contest managed just a 3.9/8 in homes, down a whopping 33% from its year-ago Jets-Packers opener on a Saturday (5.8/12).

That helped both of the Eye’s 10 p.m. rivals — ABC’s “20/20” (3.7/12) and NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” (3.1/10) — hit summer demo highs.


NBC slipped past ABC in adults 18-49 behind just the second demo victory for “ER” (4.3/14) over “20/20 – Downtown” (4.0/13) in their last seven encounters.

Peacock laffer “Will & Grace” pulled to within one-tenth of a ratings point of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” at 9 p.m. (5.5 vs. 5.6), the closest any repeat NBC comedy has been to a firstrun “Millionaire” this season.

ABC once again was an easy winner in total viewers, led by “Millionaire” (19.60 million) and the biggest crowd in four weeks for “Downtown” (12.77 million).

CBS’ “Big Brother” faded 18% from its week-earlier 18-49 rating to a Thursday-low 2.7/10.


The “Survivor” tsunami is punishing all in its path: Fox comedies “King of the Hill” (4.48 million) and “Family Guy” (4.35 million) drew their smallest auds of the summer, while ABC’s “Two Guys and a Girl” slipped to its lowest 18-49 rating (1.8/6) and “Dateline” delivered its second smallest audience (7.19 million).

From 8-9 p.m., “Survivor” out-rated the other five nets by a combined 41% in total viewers (28 million vs. 19.80), by 66% in adults 18-49 (12.1/38 vs. 7.3/23) and by 70% in adults 25-54 (12.9/37 vs. 7.6/21).

The Eye’s “Big Brother” won its 9 p.m. hour by 14 shares in adults 18-49 over both ABC and NBC. Opposite “Brother,” NBC’s “The West Wing” matched its best Wednesday 18-49 rating of the summer (3.3/9) and followed it at 10 with a special episode that did even better (3.8/11); that was just 5% off what “Law & Order” has averaged in the slot this summer (4.0).

The WB’s “Young Americans” delivered its best rating to date in women 18-34 (2.6/8), ranking third in its slot.


NBC’s oft-delayed animated laffer “Sammy” (4.12 million, 1.8/6 in A18-49) bowed with a thud, retaining 86% of its 18-49 lead-in from a repeat “Third Rock From the Sun” in a slot where the net has been seeing gains. It’s still better than the measly 68% hold in the slot for the three episodes last spring of another toon comedy, “God, the Devil & Bob.”

The weak “Sammy” showing hurt lead-out “Frasier” (3.3/10), which fell a worst-yet 52% behind timeslot sitcom foe “Dharma & Greg” (5.0/15).

“Big Brother” is falling farther behind “Millionaire” in their head-to-head 18-49 battle at 8 (3.2/11 vs. 4.5/16), but the Eye entry is still holding an edge in adults 18-34 (3.3/13 vs. 3.1/12).


ABC won Aug. 7 in viewers (10.42 million), but CBS and NBC tied for the 18-49 lead (3.3/10).

“Columbo: Ashes to Ashes” delivered ABC’s largest Monday pic aud (10.15 million) this summer.

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