Latest reality runs, repeats rule ratings

A few new series are making some noise this summer, including some original dramas on cable, but the top of the program rankings continues to be dominated by more familiar fare.

Last week, Fox’s unscripted skein “Trading Spouses” and dramas “Rescue Me” on FX and “The Grid” on TNT launched with strong ratings, but Nielsen’s top 10 shows in adults 18-49 consisted primarily of the tried-and-true.

The second edition of Fox’s fish-out-of-water reality skein “The Simple Life” led the way in the demo with a 4.7 rating/14 share, according to Nielsen, and CBS scored with the fifth editions of reality staples “The Amazing Race” (4.6/13) and “Big Brother” (3.6/10 on Tuesday).

Also making appearances in the top 10 were scripted crime drama vets like the Eye’s “CSI” and the Peacock’s “Law & Order” — as well as one spinoff of each.

Bunched up

Overall, the broadcast nets were tightly bunched in the key demo of adults 18-49, with CBS and NBC tied with a 2.4 rating, Fox close behind at a 2.3 and ABC hanging in there at 2.1. CBS was again the only network up vs. the same week a year ago, while ABC was flat, Fox off slightly and NBC down a sharper 14%.

CBS also won out in adults 25-54 (2.9/8) and total viewers (7.9 million). Fox prevailed in the narrower 18-34 demo (2.5/9).

Leading the way for the Eye was “Amazing Race,” which hit summer highs (4.6/13 in 18-49, 11.10 million viewers overall), and Thursday dramas “CSI” (4.5/13, 13.08m) and “Without a Trace” (4.0/12, 12.56m), which dominated their timeslots. CBS also delivered the week’s top five shows in both adults 25-54 and total viewers.

Net would have won outright in 18-49 if not for weak showings by drama repeats Friday and by repeat Sunday movie “Murder on the Orient Express” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 6.61m).

NBC had only three of the top 15 shows in 18-49 (led by No. 8 “Law & Order” with a 3.6/10) but was fairly consistent throughout the week. Tuesday’s “Last Comic Standing” (3.4/10 in 18-49) and Monday’s “Who Wants to Marry My Dad” (3.2/9) both posted solid second-place finishes.

Net didn’t do much on Thursday with its repeats, though, as “ER” and four segs of “Scrubs” left it third in 18-49 and fifth in total viewers.

Fox saw Tuesday unscripted series “Trading Spouses” get off to a winning start (3.4/11 in 18-49, 7.48m), and a repeat of the premiere episode was surprisingly strong on Monday of the current week — retaining 97% of its 18-49 aud (3.3/10, 6.92m).

Net also took Wednesday’s opening hour in 18-49 with a repeat “That ’70s Show” (3.4/12) and firstrun laffer “Quintuplets” (3.2/11), which had its best showing since its premiere, and was more competitive than usual on Thursday with a repeat of “Legally Blonde” (2.8/9 in 18-49).

ABC shined Sunday with its unscripted repeat combo of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (3.7/10 in 18-49) and “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (2.7/8), but 10 o’clock drama “The Days” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 5.38m) fell off after a promising week-earlier bow.

The WB was again led by original Tuesday drama “Summerland” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.52m), but the premiere of quizzer “Studio 7″ stumbled on Thursday (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.65m). “WWE Smackdown” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 4.90m) paced UPN, winning its two-hour Thursday slot in males 12-34 (2.9/11).

Discovery’s unsung “American Chopper” was the top basic cable series of the week in 18-49 (2.2/6), edging out a strong premiere for FX’s “Rescue Me” on Wednesday (2.0/6 in 18-49, 4.07m) and USA’s Sunday tandem of “The 4400″ and “The Dead Zone.”

At TNT, “The Grid” opened well (1.2/4 in 18-49, 4.52m) and held up nicely in its second outing on Monday of the current week (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.17m).

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