Fox, NBC reality fare heat up summer race

Eye leads in total viewers as Alphabet lags

Boosted by the summer’s hottest reality series, Fox and NBC tied for the primetime lead last week in key demos, while CBS was again the most-watched network.

That left ABC on the outside looking in as the net was fourth in both young adults and total viewers.

According to Nielsen, Fox and NBC tied for the lead during the July 8-14 frame in both 18-49 (2.9 rating) and 18-34 (2.7). Nets’ “American Idol” and “Dog Eat Dog,” respectively, are running neck and neck as the summer’s top demo draw.

Fox and NBC also closed out the week well with repeats of popular theatricals. Former’s “Jerry Maguire” won Sunday in adults 18-49 (3.7/12), while NBC ruled Saturday with “Men in Black” (4.0/14).

Fox’s coverage of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, although the least-watched on record, was the frame’s No. 1 program in total viewers (14.65 million), adults 18-49 (5.2/16) and all male demos.

CBS led the way in total viewers for a fourth straight week but settled for third place in key demos despite a solid start for “Big Brother 3.” Net’s “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” were the week’s most-watched series.

ABC had little to celebrate over the weekend, but did fairly well earlier in the frame with “The Mole” on Tuesday and “State v.” Wednesday.

Monday

“Dog Eat Dog” was the top-rated program in 18-49 on July 15 (4.7/13), pacing another NBC demo victory. CBS, meanwhile, maintained its edge in total viewers.

It was a battle of theatricals elsewhere, with Fox’s repeat of “Happy Gilmore” getting the better of ABC’s preem of “Pleasantville” in 18-49 (3.5/10 vs. 2.2/7) and total viewers.

Sunday

Repeat of theatrical “Jerry Maguire” built throughout its three-hour timeslot on Fox, pacing the net’s victory in 18-49 (3.7/12) and 18-34 (4.1/15). By its final half-hour, “Maguire” was winning by 7 shares in 18-49 (with a 5.3/15) and by a whopping 12 shares in 18-34 (6.0/19); it also led in total viewers.

NBC’s “Crime and Punishment” ruled at 10, building by a best-yet 22% on its lead-in from “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” in 18-49 (3.3/9 vs. 2.7/8) and by 36% in 18-34 (3.0/10 vs. 2.2/7).

HBO scored with “Robin Williams Live” (5.74m, 2.9/8 in A18-49), finishing second among all nets from 9-10:30 in key demos, while the premiere of TNT made-for “Door to Door” averaged a solid 6.07 million viewers but only a so-so 1.9/6 in 18-49.

CBS won the night in overall aud, led by “60 Minutes” (10.80m).

Saturday

In its first Saturday try, CBS’ “Big Brother 3” won at 8 p.m. in adults 25-54 and 18-34, while tying with Fox’s “Cops” repeats in 18-49 (2.1/9).

From 9 to 11, though, it was all NBC: A fourth run of the original “Men in Black” matched the second-best 18-49 rating for any Saturday movie in the past year (4.0/14), swelling to a 5.0/17 in its final half-hour.

Friday

ABC took the night in adults 18-49 with a mere 8 share, led by “20/20” at 10 (2.4/8) and another victory at 8 for the indefatigable “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.9/8).

Premiere of “Invasion of the Hidden Cameras” from 8 to 9 improved Fox’s prior summer average by about 30% in key demos. Its two half-hour segs averaged a 1.7/7 in 18-49.

CBS was off-key with its Marc Anthony concert spec, which finished third at 10 (3.76m, 1.2/4 in 18-49).

Thursday

“CSI,” the week’s No. 1 series (13.04m, 4.8/15 in A18-49), crushed its competish in the middle hour, leading CBS to victory in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers. Net’s “Big Brother 3” won at 8 in 25-54 and viewers, although it lagged NBC’s laffers in 18-49.

Fox newsmag “The Pulse” bowed to soft ratings (Daily Variety, July 15), but ABC’s “Primetime” (8.34m, 2.9/9) continues to look good, winning its 10 p.m. hour opposite repeat dramas.

Wednesday

Young auds turned out in big numbers, with roughly one-fourth of those watching television from 9 to 10 tuned into either Fox’s “American Idol” or CBS’ preem of “Big Brother 3” (Daily Variety, July 12).

NBC and Fox tied for the night’s 18-49 honors (3.1/10), with the former’s “Law & Order” ruling at 10 (3.9/11) and also ranking as the night’s top show in viewers (11.34m). Opposite “Law,” ABC’s unscripted series “State v.” also did well at 10, drawing its largest aud in five airings (6.71m).

Tuesday

Baseball’s All-Star contest on Fox dominated (even winning in key femme demos), but ABC’s unscripted offerings stepped up to the plate as well. “The Mole 2” hit its top 18-49 rating since its summer preem (3.3/9), and “Houston Medical” grabbed its best 18-34 rating (2.3/7) and second largest aud (6.51m).

Monday

Combo of “Dog Eat Dog” and “Fear Factor” lifted NBC to another victory in 18-49 on July 8, ranking as the week’s No. 3 and 4 programs, respectively. Network preem of “The Horse Whisperer” (10.91m, 2.7/8 in A18-49) did well for ABC.

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