Fox sweeps the night in key ratings categories

This article was updated at 10:12 p.m.

Fox drew a sizable aud for Tuesday’s baseball All-Star Game, but that didn’t keep hot summer skeins like the WB’s “Summerland” and CBS’ “The Amazing Race” from turning in more nifty Nielsen numbers.

One year after drawing its smallest crowd on record (13.8 million viewers on average), the Major League Baseball All-Star Game improved slightly to 14 million and was easily the evening’s top-rated program. Fox swept the night in key ratings categories, dominating among men.

Still, there were enough viewers to go around Tuesday.

“Summerland,” picked up by the Frog for a second season (Daily Variety, July 14), grabbed its best 18-49 rating (1.6/4) since its June 1 premiere.

Lori Loughlin-led drama, which has emerged as the most impressive firstrun scripted summer performer on the broadcast nets, also established highs in adults 18-34 (2.0/6), persons 12-34 (2.2/7) and femmes 12-34 (3.6/10), winning its slot in the latter.

Elsewhere in the crowded 9 o’clock hour, NBC’s “Last Comic Standing 2″ (3.6/10 in 18-49, 7.61m) and CBS’ “Big Brother 5″ (3.4/9, 8.63m) were down week-to-week but performed admirably opposite baseball.

“Comic,” NBC’s strongest summer skein, topped “Brother” in 18-49 and male demos; the Eye series prevailed in 25-54 and female demos.

Also, Bravo’s “Blow Out” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.10m) achieved series highs while TBS’ “Outback Jack” remained steady (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.01m).

At 10, CBS’ “Amazing Race 5″ (4.3/12 in 18-49, 10.50m) matched its week-earlier 18-49 preem result, again beating a repeat of NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” (3.7/10 in 18-49, 10.13m) and ABC’s “NYPD 24/7″ (1.9/5, 5.88m). It was also up slightly in total viewers.

As for the 75th MLB All-Star Game, Fox averaged a 5.0/15 in adults 18-49 and 14 million viewers overall — up slightly from last year (4.6/15, 13.81m) — drawing the best scores for a program on the net since the finale of “American Idol 3″ in May.

There was clearly viewer interest at the top of the game, and Fox would have garnered a higher overall rating if not for a lopsided contest that resulted when the American League erupted for six runs in the first inning.

Rating among men 18-49, for example, was a strong 7.2 in the first half-hour (up sharply from last year’s 4.9) but the final full half-hour’s rating (6.1) was below last year’s 7.2.

Nielsen estimates that 32.8 million Americans watched at least some of the All-Star Game, a viewership level matching that of 2000 and the highest since 1999.

Top major-market ratings included an 18.8/28 in St. Louis, a 14.7/22 in New York but a nothing-special 14.2/21 in host city Houston.

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