Fox 'Jury' lacks sizzle as Alphabet hoops heat up

The verdict is in: Viewers were looking for anything but heavy drama on a warm June evening.

Fox’s legal drama “The Jury” stumbled out of the box Tuesday night as young auds instead sought out the NBA Finals on ABC, “Last Comic Standing” on NBC and WB’s “Summerland.”

Fox execs have pledged to be patient with their ambitious plan to roll out more scripted programming in the summer months, but even they must be deliberating about what went wrong with “Jury,” which is skedded to air in the fall as well.

According to Nielsen, the Tom Fontana-Barry Levinson drama averaged a 4 share in adults 18-49 for each of its two episodes, placing fourth at 8 with a 1.5 rating in the demo and tying for fourth at 9 with a 1.3 rating. It averaged little more than 4 million viewers overall and failed to excite the 12-34 crowd that typically drives Fox hits, settling for a 1.2/4 in that demo.

In 18-49, “Jury” fell behind a repeat of CBS drama “Navy NCIS” at 8 (1.6/5) and lagged the WB’s “Summerland” at 9 (1.5/4).

If there’s a silver lining for Fox as it moves on with its big summer plans, it’s that the rest of the skeins to roll out this month — including Hawaii-set drama “North Shore,” reality skein “The Casino” and comedy “Method & Red” — are more in line with the fun-and-sun programming to which young-adult viewers have gravitated in the past.

They certainly did Tuesday.

ABC rolled from 9 o’clock on with Game 2 of the National Basketball Assn. Finals, which saw the Los Angeles Lakers rally to defeat the Detroit Pistons in overtime.

Contest averaged a big 7.0/21 in adults 18-49 and 16.13 million viewers overall, on par or slightly above Sunday’s Game 1 in most categories. Through two games, this year’s Finals (7.0/20 in 18-49, 15.8 million viewers overall) is up 94% over last year (New Jersey Nets-San Antonio Spurs), the best start to a Finals in three years.

ABC easily won the night, but NBC was a solid second thanks to the second-season premiere of reality skein “Last Comic Standing.” Its two-hour averages from 8 to 10 (4.0/12 in adults 18-49 and 9.13 million viewers overall) are about 10% below last year, when it aired from 9 to 11 and did not go up against the NBA.

“Comic,” which grew throughout its premiere, skewed more female than it did a year ago and could pick up more male viewers after the NBA season wraps. Its stout start is good news for NBC, which laid an egg one night earlier with the return of another of its summer series, “For Love or Money.”

In the 9 o’clock hour where they will regularly oppose each other, NBC’s “Comic” more than tripled Fox’s “Jury” in 18-49 (4.7/13 vs. 1.3/4).

Also at 9, the WB’s “Summerland” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 4.11m) was down 20% in 18-49 from its preem, but virtually matched its week-earlier score in the Frog’s target demo of persons 12-34 (2.0/7 vs. a 2.1/7 for its premiere). Spelling Television skein shot up nicely week to week in female teens (5.8/16 vs. 4.0/14), ranking as the top show of the night.

In cable, the premiere of Bravo’s unscripted series “Blow-Out” didn’t do much at 9 (0.3/1 in 18-49, 0.65m), drawing roughly one-third the aud of lead-out “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 1.85m).

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