Repeats work for Eye

It’s the only broadcast net without fresh series programming at this point in the summer, but so far CBS is holding its own quite nicely.

Even though rivals like NBC (“Last Comic Standing”) and Fox (“The Simple Life’) grabbed strong ratings for some of their firstrun shows last week, the Eye net remained very competitive in key demos and won with ease in total viewers, thanks largely to repeats of its top skeins.

It also was the only broadcast web (aside from basketball-boosted ABC) to improve upon its perf of the same frame a year ago.

CBS did get a lift from Sunday’s “60 Minutes” interview with Bill Clinton, which was second only to the last game of the NBA Finals among the week’s most-watched programs, but it’s also getting great repeat mileage out of its roster of crime dramas and Monday comedies.

And CBS figures to become an even stronger summer force in July as its firstrun programming kicks in with the return of “Big Brother” and “The Amazing Race.”

For the week of June 14-20, according to Nielsen, NBC prevailed in adults 18-49 with a 2.6 rating/8 share, with CBS and ABC close behind in second with a 2.4/8 and Fox in fourth with a 2.0/7.

Peacock also edged past CBS in adults 25-54 (3.0/9 vs. 2.9/9), while the Eye led in average overall audience with 8.64 million viewers.

ABC’s coverage of the Detroit Pistons’ championship-clinching victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday was easily the week’s top show (9.4/26 in adults 18-49, 21.84 million viewers overall) — the best numbers for a pro basketball contest in three years.

The NBA Finals contests rank as the summer season’s five highest-rated programs.

Behind basketball, fresh entries like Fox’s “The Simple Life 2″ and “Method and Red” and NBC’s “Last Comic Standing 2″ cracked the top 10 in adults 18-49, joining scripted repeats like “CSI: Miami” and “CSI” on CBS and “Law and Order” on NBC.

And in adults 25-54, CBS claimed five of the top 10 shows, with “CSI: Miami” (5.8/14) ranking second to only the NBA Finals.

The Eye also received the best numbers since March for “60 Minutes” (3.1/12 in 18-49, 15.77m), which turned over its entire telecast to Dan Rather’s interview with former President Clinton.

Over at NBC, “Last Comic Standing” excelled both in its regular Tuesday slot (a series-record 4.8/13 in 18-49, 10.37m) and with a special seg on Wednesday (4.3/13, 9.75m), and “Next Action Star” (2.3/8 in 18-49, 5.46m) was respectable in its preem.

One thing the Peacock probably wasn’t counting on was a sharp decline for repeats of “Friends” this summer. Compared with the opening three weeks of summer 2003, the lame-duck laffer is down 38% in 18-49.

Fox did well Wednesday with “Simple Life 2″ sandwiching solid preems for “Quintuplets” and “Method and Red” (Daily Variety, June 18), but Tuesday drama “The Jury” is struggling.

Monday’s combo of “North Shore” and “Casino” put up OK numbers, with the net noting unduplicated audience for “Shore” hit 13 million in its two airings last week (Monday and Thursday) — a sked strategy Fox used to great effect in generating interest for “The OC” last summer.

At the WB, scripted drama “Summerland” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.39m) held up pretty well in its third outing, but Thursday’s “Pepsi Smash” continues to draw anemic numbers (0.6/2, 1.39m). Net did better a night later in repeats when its 8-10 p.m. Friday laffers topped ABC’s in 18-34 (1.2/6 vs. 0.9/5).

“WWE Smackdown” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 4.58m) is keeping UPN afloat but repeats of hit unscripted series “America’s Next Top Model” fared poorly on Tuesday and Wednesday.

TBS, buoyed by the premiere week of the syndicated “Sex and the City,” led ad-supported cable nets in adults 18-49 (1.2 rating) — topping both the WB and UPN — and also led in adults 18-34 (1.3 rating) and adults 25-54 (1.1 rating, tied with TNT).

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On Monday of the current week, NBC had a solid night, thanks to a solid start at 10 for returning series “Who Wants to Marry My Dad” (3.5/10 in 18-49, 7.88m), which was competitive in demos with a repeat of CBS drama “CSI: Miami” (3.8/11, 11.78m).

At 9, CBS led with its repeat comedies while NBC’s “For Love or Money” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 7.19m) again bested Fox’s “Casino” (2.3/6, 4.99m). Both “Casino” and 8 o’clock drama “North Shore” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 4.37m) retained most of their premiere-week numbers.

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