HOLLYWOOD — “American Idol” continues to boost Fox’s primetime averages but it was a more consistent NBC that came away with another victory among young adults in the final week of the summer season.
According to Nielsen, NBC won in adults 18-49 for the 20th time in 23 weeks, squeaking past Fox for the week of Aug. 26-Sept. 1 (2.9 to 2.8). Nets each won three nights in adults 18-49, with MTV capturing Thursday behind record numbers for its “Video Music Awards.”
A weak Monday kept Fox from taking the week, but the net again performed ahead of last year’s levels. It also finished on top in adults 18-34 for the 11th straight week.
CBS, meanwhile, again drew the largest audience overall — winning in total viewers for the ninth time in 11 weeks. Courtesy of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and two episodes of “CSI,” CBS claimed the week’s top three scripted programs in total viewers, adults 18-49 and adults 25-54.
For a second straight week, editions of Fox’s “American Idol” delivered the week’s top two scores in adults 18-49, total viewers and other key demos. Wednesday’s special hourlong seg posted the skein’s best numbers yet (16.94 million, 8.3/23 in 18-49).
Frame wrapped the traditional 14-week “summer” season, which saw NBC win in 18-49 and CBS prevail in total viewers. Fox, which came on strong behind “Idol,” showed the biggest improvement vs. last summer, up 4% in adults 18-49, 12% in adults 18-34 and 7% in total viewers.
Thanks to its big Thursday, MTV was the week’s primetime leader among basic cablers in both adults 18-49 (1.5 rating) and total viewers (2.52m). Net also finished third among all nets (behind Fox and NBC) in women 18-34 (2.5 rating).
With NBC replacing summer reality hits “Dog Eat Dog” and “Meet My Folks” with regular slot occupants “Third Watch” and “Crossing Jordan,” the Peacock’s 13-week Monday winning streak in adults 18-49 came to end, according to prelim nationals.
CBS and Fox, which aired a repeat of “There’s Something About Mary,” tied for the 18-49 lead (4.1/11), with the Eye winning easily in total viewers.
“CSI,” which is warming up the 10 p.m. slot for spinoff “CSI: Miami” this fall, is really boosting CBS on the night. The crime drama doubled what a repeat of “Family Law” did in the hour a year ago (4.7/12 vs. 2.3/6) in 18-49.
NBC won in adults 18-49 for the fourth time in six weeks, led by “Law & Order: CI” at 9 (2.7/9) and “Crime & Punishment” at 10 (2.2/7).
CBS won in viewers behind “60 Minutes” (10.77m), but its movie “The Biographer” (4.41m, 0.9/1) delivered what appears to be the lowest numbers ever for an original Eye made-for.
CBS’ “Big Brother” again won its hour (6.32m, 2.4/10 in 18-49) but Fox took the night behind “America’s Most Wanted” (6.52m, 2.1/7).
NBC did well at 10 with a repeat of “Meet My Folks” (4.59m, 2.1/7), which led its closest broadcast rival in the hour by 24% in adults 18-49.
ABC’s Notre Dame-Maryland football contest (5.04m, 1.7/7) was on par with last year’s comparable game.
Start of the holiday weekend combined with low network clearances due to preseason football preemptions for some anemic ratings perfs. NBC won the night with a mere 8 share in adults 18-49 and 7.3 million viewers overall.
CBS fell to fourth or lower in key measures, as repeats of May’s “Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Honeymooners” reunion specs tanked, and Fox’s original telepic “The Glow,” didn’t do much (4.72m, 1.6/6 in 18-49).
“MTV Video Music Awards” drew its largest aud ever (11.95m), topping all of the broadcast nets in primetime in overall audience as well as key demos like adults 18-49 (5.9/17), adults 18-34 (8.6/26) and teens (9.5/32). It was the No. 3 show of the week in 18-49.
Kudocast took a toll on the young-skewing programs it opposed, as CBS’ “Big Brother 3” (8.44m, 3.7/11), UPN’s “WWE Smackdown” and NBC’s repeats of laffers “Friends” and “Will & Grace” were all down markedly week-to-week.
A special one-hour “American Idol” delivered the show’s highest ratings yet (16.94m, 8.3/23 in A18-49), becoming Fox’s highest-rated regular summer telecast since an episode of “Melrose Place” in July 1992.
CBS’ “Big Brother” won at 8 (9.23m, 4.4/14) but the net’s coverage of “Miss Teen USA” (6.29m, 2.6/7) fell 20% year-to-year to the pageant’s smallest primetime aud on record.
NBC’s “Law & Order” cleaned up at 10 with its best scores of the summer (12.87m, 4.5/13). ABC’s finale of limited-run series “ICU: Arkansas Children’s Hospital” didn’t give “Law” much of a battle, but it did its best numbers in four tries (6.08m, 2.3/6).
Fox again rolled behind “American Idol” (14.98m, 7.5/20), which won its hour by 12 shares in 18-49 and by 17 shares in adults 18-34. It also established a series high in teens (7.0/24).
ABC had a couple of bright spots, as USA drama “Monk” posted its best numbers yet on the Alphabet (9.17m, 3.1/8). And at 8:30, laffer “According to Jim” delivered the net’s second largest series aud in the time period (7.44m) since March.
NBC’s “Dateline” (12.00m, 4.2/12 in 18-49) dominated at 10, claiming the week’s No. 1 18-49 rating among newsmags for a seventh straight week.
Despite facing football and repeats of top series like “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “CSI,” NBC’s reality duo of “Dog Eat Dog” and “Meet My Folks” tied for the week’s No. 3 spot in adults 18-49 (5.3/14).
ABC wrapped preseason “Monday Night Football” with strong numbers for its Packers-Browns contest (11.34m, 4.4/13). Three-game averages were the franchise’s best in three years.