Skein averages 12.9 million viewers

Ratings for reality shows are generally down vs. last year, but auds just can’t get enough of people looking for hidden objects in cows’ brains or bobbing for pig parts on NBC’s “Fear Factor.”

The gross-out skein has consistently won its Monday-at-8 timeslot this fall, averaging a 5.5 rating/15 share in adults 18-49 and 12.9 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen. It has easily disposed of what figured to be its toughest competish yet: Fox’s second installment of “Joe Millionaire.”

“Fear Factor” is bucking one of the fall’s most-discussed trends, as it is one of only a few shows on any web to exhibit year-to-year growth among men 18-34 — a demo that has become increasingly difficult for broadcasters to attract.

And it’s also the only returning reality series to be up among adults 18-49 vs. last season, as its 5.5 rating reps a 15% increase. Fox’s “Joe Millionaire” is down 60%, CBS’ “Survivor” is off 15%, and ABC’s “The Bachelor” has declined by 3%.

The show also holds up very well in repeats, so NBC has been able to reap solid advertising revenue from it year-round.

Bottom line: Expect “Fear” to scare up auds for years to come.

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