Reality takes a bite out of ratings prize

It represents just one hour of CBS’ sked, but “Survivor” is having a big impact on the weekly ratings races.

The summer reality adventure series, which last week improved on its strong premiere numbers, has helped the Eye net capture the week of June 5-11 in homes — its first victory by that measure since December.

More significantly, it has enabled CBS to hop over Fox and into third place in the weekly adults 18-49 standings for the first time since Grammys week in February. The Eye’s 3.3 rating in young adults is its best in any of the summer months of June, July or August since 1997.

“Survivor” finished first for the week in adults 18-34 (7.6/28) — the first time CBS has had the No. 1 weekly show in that demo since the Dan Quayle-juiced season preem of “Murphy Brown” in 1992. It also ranked second in adults 18-49 (7.5/25) and third in total viewers (18.55 million), according to Nielsen.

The Eye net’s good news didn’t stop there: It also placed first for the week in women 25-54, second in adults 25-54 and had the No. 1 comedy (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) and newsmag (Monday’s “48 Hours”) in both viewers and adults 18-49.

CBS edged NBC in homes (7.6 to 7.5) while the Peacock got the better of things among the two nets in total viewers (10.66 million to 10.61).

ABC, saddled with three games of the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Finals, slipped to third in homes (6.3) and viewers (9.39) for the first time since Jan. 3-9. Still, ratings for the Cup finals were up by 12% in viewers and by 18% in adults 18-49 compared with a year ago when they aired on Fox.

It was another good week for broadcast television in general, with five of the six major nets up in homes, viewers and adults 18-49 vs. the same week last year. Even wannabe net Pax pitched in with a season-best 0.4 in the 18-49 demo.

That left only the WB, with just one hour of original programming, on the outside looking in.

Compared with a year ago, the six nets were up by a combined 14% in viewers and by 16% in adults 18-49.

NBC won the week in adults 18-49, led by the NBA Finals, whose three games ranked third, fifth and sixth in the demo. Sunday’s seg of ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” placed first.

In total viewers, “Millionaire” installments on Sunday (26.27 million) and Tuesday (23.55) finished on top.

Adults 18-49 averages for the week of June 5-11: NBC, a 4.4 rating/14 share (up 16% in rating vs. a year ago); ABC, 3.4/11 (up 17%); CBS, 3.3/10 (up 18%); Fox, 2.7/8 (up 4%); UPN, 1.5/5 (up 67%); the WB, 1.0/3 (down 23%); Pax, 0.4/1 (even).

In homes, it’s: CBS, 7.6/14 (up 4%); NBC, 7.5/14 (up 10%); ABC, 6.3/11 (up 7%); Fox, 4.3/8 (up 10%); UPN, 2.4/4 (up 41%); the WB, 1.7/3 (down 29%); Pax, 0.9/2 (even).

Adults 18-49 averages for the nation’s top cable services: HBO, 1.1/3 (down 15%); USA, 1.0/3 (up 11%); TBS, 0.8/3 (even); TNT, 0.6/2 (down 25%), tied with Lifetime, 0.6/2 (up 20%) and MTV, 0.6/2 (even).

Monday

CBS won June 12 in viewers (12.66 million) and adults 18-49 (4.4/13), taking each half-hour in the demo. A special “Mysteries” edition of newsmag “48 Hours” was the top show of the night in viewers (10.66 million) and adults 18-49 (5.3/15).

A “Law & Order” repeat at 9 delivered NBC’s best adults 18-49 rating in the hour with series programming (4.0/11) since Nov. 15 (“Law & Order: SVU”).

UPN’s comedies are holding up better in repeats than the WB’s dramas on this night, topping its netlet rival each half-hour in viewers and adults 18-49. For the night, UPN finished second to Fox in teens (2.3/8).

Sunday

A heavily promoted seg of “Millionaire,” which opened with a contestant attempting the million-dollar question, logged the quizzer’s largest aud (26.27 million) since May 21.

NBC won the night over ABC in adults 18-49 (6.0/17 vs. 5.0/14), with Game 3 of the NBA Finals edging “Millionaire” head-to-head (8.3/21 to 8.2/20). The hoops action finished down in homes by 12% vs. last year’s Game 3 of the New York-San Antonio finals (10.7 vs. 12.1).

Saturday

ABC’s Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals scored an upset victory in adults 18-49, edging Fox on the night (2.7/11 to 2.4/10). Its 4.2 homes rating ties it with Thursday’s Game 5 as the two top-rated hockey contests since 1980′s 4.4 for Game 6 of the finals on CBS.

The return of CBS’ “Falcone” (7.40 million, 2.0/7 A18-49) failed to drum up viewer interest at 10, although it didn’t have much of a lead-in to build from: “Walker, Texas Ranger” struggled in its new 9 p.m. slot, falling to fourth in young adults (1.8/7).

Friday

Game 2 of the NBA Finals (9.9/20 in homes) improved by 3% over last year’s 9.6/19, powering NBC to an easy victory. The net topped second-place ABC by 5 shares in homes and by 7 shares in adults 18-49.

Opposite basketball at 9:30, it was a battle of firstrun segs of non-returning series. CBS’ “Candid Camera” was best of the lot in adults 18-49 (2.7/9), topping ABC’s “Making the Band” (2.6/9), Fox’s “Greed” (2.3/8) and UPN’s “Secret Agent Man” (0.8/3).

Thursday

“WWF Smackdown!” smacked around the competish, helping UPN win a night in men 18-49 (3.9/14) for the first time.

The wrestling program ranked first among men 18-34 (4.6/18), male teens (9.9/35) and total teens (6.9/23) and second in adults 18-49 (3.1/10), adults 18-34 (3.7/13) and women 18-34 (4.6/18). It also delivered its second best women 18-49 rating (2.4/8) and second highest viewer total (8.65 million).

The strong wrestling ratings are even more impressive given the young-adult competish from the “MTV Movie Awards,” which placed third in adults 18-34 (3.2/11) despite airing on a cabler that’s available in just 74% of the country. Kudocast ranked third for the week among all cable telecasts in viewers (5.1 million) behind only USA’s two Monday wrestling programs; it logged a 2.2 in homes, down 19% from last year’s 2.7.

Other highlights on the night included CBS newsmag “48 Hours” topping a repeat of NBC’s “ER” in viewers (10.54 million vs. 9.56) and the WB’s “Popular” posting its best adults 18-49 rating (1.0/3) since March 23.

Wednesday

“Survivor” (18.12 million, 7.5/25 in A18-49) disposed of “Millionaire” even more easily in their second head-to-head battle, lifting CBS to a nightly win in viewers and adults 18-49. (Daily Variety, June 9).

Britney Spears music spec “Britney in Hawaii” delivered Fox’s largest aud (11.16 million) and female teens rating (7.1/23) for a special since Feb. 15 (“Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?”) and its best spec rating among teens (8.0/26) and male teens (8.9/28) since Dec. 8 (“Billboard Music Awards”). It ranked as the No. 1 program of the week among teens.

The Fox spec, combined with unusually strong women 18-34 numbers from CBS for its pic “Now and Then,” sent the WB’s “Felicity” (1.4/2 in homes) to the net cellar, behind even Pax’s “Touched by an Angel” (1.6/3).

“Now and Then,” even in second run, used its “Survivor” lead-in to post the best single-part adults 18-49 rating for the CBS Wednesday Movie since Dec. 1 (“The Test of Love”). Pic also rated first among all programs for the week in female teens (7.4/28).

Tuesday

ABC continued its mastery on the night, with “Millionaire” topping second-place “JAG” at 8 p.m. by 15 shares in homes and by 13 shares in adults 18-49. Original segs of canceled laffers “Suddenly Susan” and “Veronica’s Closet” kept NBC fourth for the hour in young adults.

The Peacock fared much better at 9:30 as new comedy “M.Y.O.B.” placed second to ABC’s “Drew Carey” in adults 18-49 (4.3 vs. 4.6) and edged it in adults 18-34 (4.2 vs. 4.0).

Monday

CBS enjoyed one of its most dominant Mondays in recent memory on June 5, winning each of the night’s half-hours in viewers, adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and even adults 18-34 (Daily Variety, June 7).

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