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Eye’s ‘Race’ hot, ‘Lake’ not

Reality skein to face tough competish with 'Wing,' 'Carey'

CBS reality series “The Amazing Race” looked strong in its second episode on Wednesday, but the net’s drama “Wolf Lake” finished behind the pack in its premiere.

According to Nielsen, “Amazing Race” won the 9 o’clock hour — which featured all-repeat competition — in adults 18-49 (4.6/12) and adults 18-34 (4.0/12) while finishing second to NBC’s “The West Wing” in total viewers (10.02 million vs. 11.79m).

Compared to its premiere episode two weeks ago, “Race” was off by just 8% in adults 18-49 but by 15% in total viewers — losing a good chunk of viewers 50-plus to “West Wing.”

Next week, “Race” will face much tougher competish, including the season premieres of “West Wing” and ABC’s “The Drew Carey Show” as well as the second stop on Fox’s “Love Cruise.”

Some industry insiders have wondered if auds would have much of an appetite for reality programming in the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks, but the perfs this week for CBS’ “Race” and “Big Brother 2” were both strong.

On Tuesday, “Brother” drew its largest aud of the summer (11.85m) and dominated its hour in key demos, including its second best 18-49 rating (5.2/13). “Brother” ended its three-month run Thursday.

There wasn’t as much good news for CBS on Wednesday at 10, where drama “Wolf Lake” (8.69m, 3.4/9 in A18-49) finished behind both ABC’s “20/20” (10.98m, 4.3/12 in A18-49) and NBC’s repeat of “Law & Order” (11.43m, 3.7/10).

“Wolf” did give CBS its best 18-49 score in the hour since May and improved upon the time period’s average of a year ago by 13% (3.4 vs. 3.0), but it failed to bring to the table the young aud CBS was hoping for. “Wolf” retained 78% of the adults 25-54 aud from lead-in “Amazing Race” (3.9/9 vs. 4.9/11) and 74% of its 18-49 aud (3.4/9 vs. 4.6/12) but just 55% in adults 18-34 (2.2/7 vs. 4.0/12).

One encouraging sign is that “Wolf” gained viewers and demo shares in its second half-hour. Skein next week takes on the season preem of “Law & Order.”

Meanwhile, news programs devoted to last week’s terrorist attacks continue to draw big numbers.

On Wednesday, CBS’ “60 Minutes” (14.40m, 4.0/12 in A18-49) attracted the largest aud for any newsmag since last Tuesday’s attacks and the best for the program since Jan. 11, 2000 (when it aired on Tuesday). ABC also did well at 10 with “20/20,” which took control of its hour in demos.

CBS captured the night in total viewers but also led in adults 18-49 on a Wednesday for the first time since March 14, with its best rating on the night (4.0/11) since May 9.

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