‘Brother’ real deal of reality fare

'Folks,' 'Fame' fade

HOLLYWOOD — So many reality shows, so few timeslots.

A pair of programs with gangbuster premieres performed like mere mortals when they opposed each other in their second outings Wednesday night.

NBC’s hourlong “Meet My Folks,” which had bowed with big numbers in a Monday preview, and Fox’s “30 Seconds to Fame,” which stormed out of the gate July 17, faded considerably in their first head-to-head encounter in the 8 o’clock hour.

‘Brother’ bounce

And both were outshone an hour later by CBS’ “Big Brother 3,” which delivered its best ratings yet.

In the 8 o’clock reality battle, NBC’s “Folks” got the better of things, averaging a timeslot-winning 3.4/11 in adults 18-49 from 8 to 9 and 7.30 million viewers overall (second to CBS’ “60 Minutes II”).

“Folks” topped Fox’s “30 Seconds” in 18-49 (3.1/11 vs. 2.8/10) and then overwhelmed Fox’s second episode of “Meet the Marks” at 8:30 (3.8/12 vs. 2.3/7). The NBC relationship skein also won the hour in adults 18-34 (3.5/13).

Compared with its Monday preview seg (which aired at 10 p.m. and behind a strong lead-in), “Meet My Folks” was off by 38% in 18-49 rating (3.4 vs. 5.5). “30 Seconds to Fame” declined week to week by 26% (2.8 vs. 3.8), “Meet the Marks” by 28% (2.3 vs. 3.2).

At 9, “Big Brother” picked up steam, leading its hour in 18-49 (4.5/13), 25-54 (4.8/13), 18-34 (4.3/13) and total viewers (10.21m). These are “BB3’s” best numbers yet, and its 18-34 rating is the highest for any CBS show since the May 20 season finale of “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

In their head-to-head battle at 9:30, “Brother” edged Fox’s “American Idol” in 18-49 (4.5/13 vs. 4.4/12), and led in adults 25-54 and total viewers. “Idol” won in 18-34 and teens.

‘Idol’ worship

One night earlier, “Idol” racked up its best numbers of the summer (10.77m, 5.5/15 in 18-49) in helping Fox to another Tuesday victory.

For Wednesday, CBS tied NBC for the 18-49 lead (3.2/10) and won in total viewers. It’s the first Wednesday victory in 18-49 with series programming for CBS since March, when “Survivor” aired on the night.

The WB placed second in some of its target demos Wednesday as “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” averaged 5.41 million viewers, a 2.3/7 in 18-49 and a 2.7/9 in 18-34 — the net’s strongest nightly numbers since the May sweep.

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