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‘Idol’ soars, NBC scores

Reality skeins in seven of the ten top spots for key demo

“American Idol” hit new ratings highs for Fox, but NBC’s batch of reality series put it in the winner’s circle last week.

According to Nielsen, the Peacock captured the July 29-Aug. 4 frame in adults 18-49 (2.9/9), with Fox in second (2.5/8). NBC also edged CBS for the lead in total viewers, ending the Eye’s six-week winning streak.

It was another banner week for alternative series, which claimed seven of the top 10 spots in adults 18-49.

Fox’s red-hot “American Idol” led the way, as Tuesday’s episode generated the highest 18-49 rating for any series on any net (6.3/18) since the May sweep, ranking as the No. 1 program of the week in the key demo. It also added more than 1 million viewers overall week to week, surpassing the 12 million mark for the first time.

Show’s Wednesday seg hit a new high (5.0/14), too, placing fourth.

NBC saw best-yet numbers for Monday’s “Dog Eat Dog,” which placed second for the week in 18-49 (5.5/15), and a strong start for “The Rerun Show” in a special Thursday preview (fifth place with 4.7/14). Net’s Tuesday “Dateline” chipped in with the best 18-49 rating for any newsmag (4.0/12) since the May sweep.

Fox actually won four nights in adults 18-49 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday) but was denied victory for the week due to poor showings Monday and Thursday. Net did finish on top in adults 18-34.

CBS again claimed the week’s three most-watched programs, with Thursday’s repeat of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” sitting comfortably on top with 15.63 million viewers. The series ranked third for the week in 18-49 (5.4/16) and first in adults 25-54 (6.5/17).

ABC languished in fourth in adults 18-49, with its strongest perfs coming from Tuesday’s “The Mole 2” (3.5/10) and Thursday’s “Primetime” (3.2/10).

TNT was the week’s top-rated basic cable network in adults 18-49 (1.1 rating) and total viewers (1.69m).

Monday

ABC’s preseason National Football League game Aug. 5, the first “Monday Night Football” contest for announcer John Madden, averaged 10.52 million viewers — 17% ahead of last year’s opener. Still, it lagged the 10.81 million who tuned in for Dennis Miller’s bow in the “MNF” booth two years ago.

NBC won in 18-49 for a 10th straight Monday, led by a best-yet perf from “Dog Eat Dog” (5.8/16), which also drew the largest overall aud for any reality program this summer (12.65m). “Meet My Folks” again looked good in its return to the 10 o’clock hour (10.51m, 5.3/15).

Sunday

It was another weak night for the five broadcast nets, which combined for a mere 29 share in adults 18-49 — down from a 36 a year ago.

Most encouraging for Fox, which won the night in the demo, were solid showings in new timeslots for “King of the Hill” at 8:30 (3.4/10 in 18-49) and “Malcolm in the Middle” at 9 (3.2/9).

HBO’s “Sex and the City” was again the highest-rated program of the night in adults 18-49 (3.6/10).

Saturday

“Big Brother 3” (6.34m, 2.6/11 in 18-49) led its hour in all key categories with its best Saturday scores to date, including the highest 18-49 series rating for CBS in the 8 p.m. hour since March 2000 (“Early Edition”).

CBS fumbled away the night to Fox, though, as neither “The District” nor “The Agency” did much in repeat and Fox’s “America’s Most Wanted” (7.36m, 2.6/9) took control at 9.

Friday

ABC edged out NBC for its fourth straight Friday victory in 18-49, led by “20/20” (2.6/9) and another winning perf at 8 from “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (2.1/9).

The WB finished third on the night in women 18-49 with repeats of its laffers (1.6/6), ahead of CBS and Fox.

USA series “Monk” drew its largest aud to date (4.91 million).

Thursday

Preview episode of NBC’s “Rerun Show” won its 9:30 half-hour in adults 18-34 (4.5/14) and was second to “CSI” in 18-49 (4.7/14) and viewers (9.41m). CBS remained on top thanks to the best showing in two months for “CSI” (15.63m, 5.4/16).

Wednesday

On a heavy reality night, NBC’s “Meet My Folks” (3.3/12) and CBS’ “Big Brother 3” (4.3/13) were down slightly vs. the previous week, but Fox’s half-hour of “American Idol” at 9:30 shot up to a 5.0/14.

Shakiest of the summer’s reality programs is Fox’s “Meet the Marks” at 8:30, which fell to its lowest 18-49 rating (2.0/7).

Tuesday

Fox took the night once again behind best-yet scores for “American Idol” (Daily Variety, Aug. 1). At 10, NBC’s “Dateline” won its hour in 18-49 (4.0/12) for the 12th time in 15 weeks with a special report on the rescued Quecreek, Pa., miners.

Monday

NBC won in adults 18-49 on July 29 behind dominating perfs from “Dog Eat Dog” (5.5/15) and a repeat “Fear Factor” (4.3/14). CBS was back on top in total viewers, led by “Everybody Loves Raymond” (12.32m) and a summer high for “48 Hours” (12.29m).

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