Reality wins ratings war on all nets

CBS' 'CSI,' 'Raymond,' 'Becker' hot for summer

HOLLYWOOD — New episodes of unscripted series on all the networks and a trio of repeat scripted skeins on CBS continue to rule primetime’s summer ratings wars.

For the July 22-28 frame, according to Nielsen, NBC moved back on top in adults 18-49 — ending Fox’s winning streak at three — and CBS delivered the largest overall aud for a sixth straight week.

The Eye’s “CSI” (14.18 million viewers), “Everybody Loves Raymond” (13.28m) and “Becker” (11.41m) were the week’s three most-watched programs; they also rank as the summer’s top shows overall.

A pair of unscripted reality series, Fox’s Tuesday edition of “American Idol” and NBC’s Monday premiere of “Meet My Folks,” tied for the top spot in adults 18-49 with a 5.5 rating — the highest for any series since May.

Overall, seven of the week’s top 10 shows in adults 18-49 were unscripted series, including three on NBC’s Monday sked: “Meet My Folks,” “Dog Eat Dog” and “Fear Factor.” Net’s Sunday series “Crime and Punishment” also continues to do well.

Fox and CBS tied for second in adults 18-49, with the former capturing Tuesday and Saturday and the latter winning on Wednesday (tied with NBC) and Thursday. Fox also won the frame in adults 18-34 (edging out NBC) and most male demos.

At CBS, “Big Brother 3” enjoyed its strongest week yet, winning all three hours in adults 18-49. The Eye was the only web to post year-to-year gains in the demo.

Even ABC, which has struggled this summer and remained fourth in adults 18-49 last week, is enjoying success with “The Mole II.” Despite facing “American Idol” on Tuesday, “Mole” delivered its largest aud yet and placed in the top 15 in demos.

In the weblet wars, the WB moved past UPN thanks to a boffo Wednesday perf by repeat pic “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.”

Monday

NBC’s reality duo of “Fear Factor” and “Dog Eat Dog” ruled the opening two hours in adults 18-49 on July 29, while CBS newsmag took control at 10 (prelim 12.2m, 3.9/11).

Nationals weren’t available for ABC’s “Battle at Bighorn” golf spec, but it appears to be down vs. last year.

Sunday

NBC took the night in 18-49 and total viewers, with 10 p.m.’s “Crime and Punishment” (9.55m, 3.5/10 in 18-49) the difference. Net also did well earlier in the evening, as “Dateline” led the 7 o’clock hour in key demos.

HBO’s “Sex and the City” (6.63m, 3.7/10 in A18-49) slid 12% in 18-49 from its season preem, but still topped its all-repeat broadcast competish.

Saturday

CBS’ “Big Brother 3” delivered its largest Saturday aud this summer (5.98m) and again won its hour in adults 18-49 (2.4/10), topping Fox’s “Cops” repeats by 1 share.

“America’s Most Wanted” seemed to pick up some of the young “BB3” viewers, as the Fox reality show dominated at 9 (7.38m, 2.7/10) and helped seal nightly victories for the net.

Friday

ABC edged past NBC for a third straight Friday triumph in adults 18-49, but the Peacock’s older-skewing fare won out in adults 25-54 and viewers.

At 10, a repeat of NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” finished on top (9.45m, 2.8/9) but it may be losing some of its aud to USA drama “Monk,” whose third episode delivered its best numbers yet (4.87m, 1.9/6 in A18-49).

Thursday

CBS is making it look easy on the night, courtesy of “Big Brother” and “CSI.” Compared with the same night last year, “CSI” was up 42% in 18-49 (5.1/16 vs. 3.6/11).

ABC’s “Primetime” (9.52m, 3.0/9 in 18-49) won at 10 for a third straight week, with NBC’s repeat of “ER” a sluggish third (6.20m, 2.5/8).

Wednesday

“Big Brother 3” posted its best numbers for any night this summer, delivering a steady 13 share in adults 18-49, 25-54 and 18-34. CBS tied with NBC for the night’s 18-49 lead (3.2/10) while winning in total viewers.

NBC’s second episode of “Meet My Folks” won the 8 p.m. hour in 18-49 (3.4/11) but didn’t look nearly as impressive as its premiere two nights earlier (Daily Variety, July 26).

“Austin Powers” delivered the largest Wednesday aud for the WB since October 1999 and the net’s best-ever men 18-49 Wednesday rating (2.4/8).

Tuesday

Fox finished on top in both 18-49 and total viewers thanks to the best numbers in both for its one-hour “American Idol” (10.77m, 5.5/15).

ABC enjoyed its strongest Tuesday of the summer in all key categories, including the finale of “Houston Medical” (7.14m, 3.1/9 in 18-49), which hit highs across the board and won its hour in adults 18-34 (2.9/10) as well as all key male demos.

“According to Jim” is also performing well for ABC, with its 8:30 seg ranking as the night’s top comedy in 18-49 (2.9/9). And at 9, “The Mole II” drew its largest aud (7.81m) and best 18-34 rating (3.8/12).

Monday

NBC’s all-reality night dominated in key demos July 22, with newcomer “Meet My Folks” easily winning at 10 (Daily Variety, July 24).

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