'Spouses' rouses aud; 'Race' picks up pace

“Trading Spouses” turned out to be a good business move for Fox.

Rushed premiere of the net’s unscripted series, designed to beat ABC’s similar fall entry “Wife Swap” to the air, handily won its timeslot in key young-adult demos.

Tuesday also saw CBS skein “The Amazing Race 5” deliver its strongest numbers yet, standing as the night’s top-rated program.

For Fox, “Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy” won Tuesday’s opening hour in adults 18-49 (3.4/11), 25-54 (3.3/10) and 18-34 (3.5/13), averaging 7.48 million viewers overall. It grew nicely on the half-hour and was too much for ABC’s special episode of “Extreme Makeover” (2.5/8 in 18-49, 7.37m), itself a late sked move aimed at blunting “Spouses.”

The Fox entry put up the best 18-49 score for any of this summer’s new unscripted programs and figures to have an easier time beginning next week if ABC reverts to comedies in Tuesday’s 8 o’clock hour.

To reach auds that may have missed the first “Spouses” seg, Fox will rebroadcast it Monday night at 8 in place of drama “North Shore.”

Elsewhere, CBS must be pleased with the growth of “Amazing Race,” which has blossomed into a hit in its first edition since its September Emmy win for reality program.

“Race 5” (4.6/13 in adults 18-49, 11.11 million viewers overall) was Tuesday’s top show in most categories, easily beating NBC’s second-place “Law & Order: SVU” repeat at 10 (3.5/9 in 18-49, 9.95m) and delivering its strongest numbers in three tries.

CBS hasn’t had a stronger 18-49 showing in Tuesday’s 10 o’clock hour since October 2002 (“Judging Amy”).

“Race” built on its lead-in from “Big Brother 5” (3.6/10 in 18-49, 9.15m), which won at 9 over NBC’s “Last Comic Standing 2” (a season-low 3.4/10 in 18-49, 7.10m).

CBS took the night in key demos as well as total viewers.

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