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Nets sizzle over 4th fizzle

Eye, Fox nab most viewers

HOLLYWOOD — Primetime viewership predictably swooned during Fourth of July week, but Fox and CBS managed to turn in some sparkling perfs.

The Eye net, boosted by movies Friday and Sunday, was the most-watched network during the July 1-7 frame, while Fox snapped NBC’s 14-week winning streak in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen estimates. They were the only webs up vs. the same week last season.

Overall, the six broadcast nets combined for a nightly average of 31.1 million viewers, a 6% decline from the same week a year ago. HUT (Homes Using Television) levels were also lower, with less than half of all sets in use during primetime Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Fox edged past NBC for the week’s 18-49 lead (2.6/10 vs. 2.5/9) thanks to new ratings highs for Tuesday’s episode of hit talent show “American Idol” as well as strong showings from Friday movie “Blast From the Past” and a NASCAR race Saturday. “Idol” was the week’s No. 1 show in 18-49 (5.3/16), 18-34 (5.4/18) and teens (4.6/20).

It was Fox’s first 18-49 summer victory in three years. Net almost certainly will make it two straight weeks as well, with the airing Wednesday night of baseball’s all-star game.

CBS did well with a repeat “Murder, She Wrote” movie Friday and theatrical “A Time to Kill” on Sunday. Net’s “60 Minutes” was the week’s most-watched program overall (12.51 million viewers).

ABC again ran fourth in adults 18-49 and total viewers. Unscripted series “Houston Medical” (Tuesday) and “State v.” (Wednesday) aren’t doing great, but they have improved their hours vs. a year ago.

It was another uneventful week in the land of weblets, with UPN edging past the WB in most categories.

Monday

Network preem of “The Horse Whisperer” did solid numbers for ABC (10.91m, 2.7/8 in A18-49), but NBC remained on top in key demos with its reality combo of “Fear Factor” and “Dog Eat Dog.” The latter was only third for its hour in total viewers (10.10m) but led all its competish by 31% in adults 18-49 (4.7/13) and by a huge 179% in adults 18-34 (5.3/16).

Sunday

NBC’s “Crime & Punishment” logged its second-best ratings to date, building on its “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” lead-in by 29% in 18-49 (3.4/9 vs. 3.1/9). It merely finished second in its hour, though, as CBS pic “A Time to Kill” (11.95m, 3.8/11 in 18-49) swelled to big numbers in its final hour.

CBS recorded a rare 18-49 Sunday victory as “Time” and “60 Minutes” combined to win seven of the night’s eight half-hours. Net also won easily in total viewers.

Fox’s reality skein “Bachelorettes in Alaska” surprisingly rallied to its best numbers yet (7.03m, 3.3/9).

Saturday

Primetime running of NASCAR race the Pepsi 400 (8.55m, 3.4/15 in 18-49) gave Fox the night in all key measures, although it was down double-digit percentages from NBC’s coverage of the race a year earlier.

Friday

CBS logged its first Friday victory in total viewers since January courtesy of a repeat “Murder, She Wrote” movie (8.73m). Fox also clicked with a pic as the network preem of “Blast From the Past” (2.2/9 in A18-49) more than doubled the net’s recent Friday average.

Thursday

NBC dominated on the lightly watched Fourth of July holiday, as “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular” (9-10:30 p.m.) improved by 53% in adults 18-49 vs. its one-hour perf of a year ago (2.6/12 vs. 1.7/7). Spec put a dent in the numbers for CBS drama “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (8.51m, 2.6/12 in 18-49).

Wednesday

With “American Idol” ranking as the night’s top-rated show in most key demos, Fox took the night in 18-49 (2.3/9) while CBS edged out NBC in total viewers.

At 10, ABC’s “State v.” finished within a share of 18-49 leader “Law & Order” (2.3/8 vs. 2.7/9).

Tuesday

“American Idol” dominated in adults 18-49 (5.3/16), adults 18-34 (5.4/18) and total viewers (10.28m), with its score in the former the highest for Fox since the premiere of “24” in the fall. Net won the night in key demos.

NBC led the way in total viewers, with 10 o’clock’s “Dateline” (10.25m, 3.6/11 in A18-49) leading the way and likely picking up some of Fox’s “Idol” aud. Peacock’s “Spy TV” also did well, tying with Fox’s “That ’70s Show” for the opening hour’s 18-49 lead (3.0/11).

Monday

NBC’s “Dog Eat Dog” hit a new high July 1, lifting the net to a win in key demos, while CBS again finished on top in total viewers. ABC’s second airing of “Sling Blade” (2.8/8 in 18-49) improved by 12% over its showing two years earlier.

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