HOLLYWOOD — NBC is cruising in the primetime ratings races at the halfway point of summer, as the finale of “For Love or Money” powered the net last week to victory in all key demo categories.
The Peacock has now won all seven weeks of the unofficial 14-week summer season in the broad demographics of adults 18-49 and 25-54, while CBS remains on top in overall total viewers after eking past NBC for the week of July 7-13, according to Nielsen.
CBS, with the premieres of “Big Brother 4” and “Cupid” boosting the number of its unscripted hours to five, moved up to second in 18-49 and was the only net to show year-to-year growth in 18-49, 25-54 and 18-34 — shooting up by 20% in the latter.
Fox fell to third in 18-49 for just the second time in 25 weeks and was edged out by NBC in adults 18-34, ending the Murdoch net’s 23-week winning streak in this category. ABC ran fourth in all of the key adult demos.
Among individual programs, the two-hour finale of NBC’s “For Love or Money” was easily the week’s No. 1 show in adults 18-49 (6.0/16), ranking as the highest-rated telecast in the demo since the May sweep. It also finished on top in total viewers (12.9 million)
NBC’s “Dateline” made the best of one of its last regular Tuesday editions, tying CBS drama “CSI” as the frame’s No. 2 program in 18-49 (4.0/12).
Also, Tuesday’s “Dog Eat Dog” (3.3/11 in 18-49) and “Last Comic Standing” (3.7/11) continue to perform well, enabling the net to win on a night that it struggled on with scripted programming during the season.
For the week, NBC’s 25% advantage over the second-place net in 18-49 (CBS) was its largest of the summer, and for summer it leads runner-up Fox by 20% (3.0/10 to 2.5/9).
The Eye net welcomed the return of “Big Brother,” as the unscripted house party’s fourth edition won all three of its opening-week hours in 18-49 — led by Tuesday (3.8/13) — and was up a bit over its opening week last summer.
‘Race’ gets traction
The circulation among younger viewers seemed to help the net’s “Amazing Race” (3.0/11 in A18-49, 8.05m), which was back up to an 11 share for the first time in five weeks and moved ahead of NBC’s repeat of “Scrubs” in key categories.
Another unscripted skein, dating show “Cupid,” bowed to unspectacular numbers (3.5/10 in 18-49) in its premiere Wednesday but still finished tied as the No. 9 program of the week.
Fox had a rather quiet week, highlighted by a solid perf Wednesday from dating show “Paradise Hotel” (3.3/10), which thrived despite facing “Big Brother” head-to-head. And new gameshow spoof “Banzai” did reasonably well in its premiere Sunday (2.9/9 in 18-49), holding on to about 83% of its “Simpsons” lead-in.
Net was slowed for the week by the Friday premiere of “Boston Public,” as the high school drama was double-pumped to weak results.
Angelina gooses ratings
ABC was led by a Barbara Walters interview of Angelina Jolie that helped “20/20” post its best numbers since February (3.2/11 in 18-49, 9.24m), beating NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” (3.0/10 for a repeat) for the first time in 13 months.
Net’s Wednesday combo of “My Wife and Kids” and “George Lopez” prevailed in 18-49. In fact, “Lopez,” perhaps boosted by a four-episode marathon ABC aired on Monday, delivered the highest 18-49 rating last week for any 8:30 scripted program on any night and net (3.4/11).
UPN was a solid No. 5 in key demos, as the finale of “America’s Next Top Model” delivered some of the net’s best Tuesday numbers ever (Daily Variety, July 17). Also, “WWE Smackdown” won Thursday in every male category from teens (5.0/20) to 25-54 (3.1/9).
‘Wedding’ jacks up TNT
Among ad-supported cable nets, TNT cruised in adults 18-49 (0.9/3), adults 25-54 (1.0/3) and total viewers (2.5 million), boosted by two airings of theatrical “The Wedding Planner.” MTV, behind the Tuesday tandem of “Real World” and “The Osbournes,” ranked first in adults 18-34 (1.0/3).
In overall audience, TNN’s WWE wrestling on Monday was the top program (5.22 million for its two hours), followed by Nickelodeon’s “Fairly Odd Parents Movie” (4.49m) and USA’s “Monk” (3.64m).