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Fox gamely bows ‘Banzai’ on Sunday

Show holds most of its 'Simpsons' lead for winning bow

Is “Banzai” off to a solid start? You bet!

The premiere of Fox’s silly bet-at-home comedy “Banzai” received hearty sampling Sunday, retaining most of its lead-in from “The Simpsons” and winning its slot in key demos.

The imported-from-England parody of Japanese extreme gameshows, which received some good reviews but sparked some controversy for its exaggerated Japanese accents, averaged a 3.0 rating/9 share and 6.2 million viewers overall, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen.

These aren’t great numbers, but on a quiet Sunday, it did edge out the final half-hour of NBC’s “Dateline” to win the 8:30 slot in 18-49, holding on to most of its “Simpsons” lead-in (3.3/12).

Not surprisingly, “Banzai” fared better among men, retaining 92% of its men 18-49 lead-in from “Simpsons” (3.5/11 vs. 3.8/13) and winning by 3 shares.

Show also overindexed in cities with high Asian populations, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, according to metered-market overnight info from Nielsen.

“Banzai” is skedded for five more Sunday airings this summer and is a midseason candidate for Fox if it performs well.

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