In a summer when the broadcast nets are tightly bunched in the ratings race for young adults, a big event like the Major League Baseball All-Star Game can shake up the order of things.
Although the “Midsummer Classic” fell to its lowest scores in at least 35 years, it still dominated Tuesday’s action and helped Fox prevail last week in adults 18-49 for the first time this season. According to Nielsen estimates, Fox’s 2.5 rating/8 share was comfortably ahead of CBS (2.2/7), ABC (2.1/7) and NBC (2.0/6).
CBS, meanwhile, ruled again in both adults 25-54 (2.6/7) and total viewers (6.7 million), and the Eye has drawn the largest overall aud in each of the summer’s seven stanzas.
Warm-weather staple “Big Brother” is thriving again for CBS with its sixth edition, joining Fox’s unscripted “Hell’s Kitchen” and returning laffer “Family Guy” and good-looking ABC newbie “Brat Camp” on the list of firstrun successes. Of course, the Alphabet also had the summer’s breakout hit in hoofing competish “Dancing With the Stars.”
It was slower going for CBS’ new “Rock Star: INXS,” which didn’t do much when it followed Eye comedies on Monday and Wednesday but performed credibly on Tuesday after “Big Brother.”
Other firstrun fare not wowing auds this summer includes ABC’s “The Scholar” and “Empire,” NBC’s “Average Joe 4” and “I Want to Be a Hilton,” Fox drama “The Inside” and unscripted half-hour “Princes of Malibu” and CBS fashion skein “The Cut.”
Fox’s coverage of baseball’s “All-Star Game” (4.3/13 in 18-49, 12.33m) was the week’s No. 1 telecast in 18-49 and second in total viewers to a repeat of CBS drama “CSI” (4.1/12, 12.86m), which was on top for the sesh in adults 25-54 (4.1/12).
Also at Fox, “Family Guy” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 5.66m) again led its Sunday slot in demos but didn’t get any help from its “Princes of Malibu” lead-in (2.0/6, 3.96m), as the latter unscripted series declined more than 20% from its ho-hum preem a week earlier.
Net also scored Monday with back-to-back firstrun segs of “Hell’s Kitchen,” including its regular 9 o’clock edition (3.2/9 in 18-49, 6.65m) that ranked among the week’s top programs in key young-adult demos.
At CBS, “Big Brother 6” led its hour on Thursday (3.2/11 in 18-49, 7.71m) and Saturday (1.9/8, 5.03m) and placed second to baseball on Tuesday (3.4/10, 8.34m). Following “BB6” on Tuesday was the strongest score of premiere week for “Rock Star: INXS” (slot-leading 3.0/8. 6.14m), which placed second and third in 18-49 on its other two nights.
ABC rolled Wednesday (Daily Variety, July 22) with the two-hour preem of “Brat Camp” (3.9/12 in 18-49, 10.40m) and also performed better than usual on Thursday with the preem of dating series “Hooking Up” (2.2/7, 5.09m), which seduced the best demo score for a regular ABC series in the 9 o’clock hour since February (“Extreme Makeover”).
Through the first half of the 14-week summer season, ABC is the only broadcaster up vs. last year in both adults 18-49 (5%) and total viewers (12%).
NBC was paced by a repeat of “Law & Order: SVU” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 9.14m), which significantly improved upon its weak lead-in from the combo of “Average Joe” (2.1/7 in 18-49) and “I Want to Be a Hilton” (2.0/6).
With “WWE Smackdown” performing well this summer (1.8/6 in 18-49, 4.94m), UPN again topped the WB in all key demo categories.
Bigger slice of pie
Over on cable, USA rose to the top of the weekly rankings in adults 18-49 for the first time since March (0.82 rating), edging out TBS and TNT (both at 0.77). “Monk,” “The 4400” and Sunday theatrical “American Pie 2” all scored for USA.
Other highlights included Sci Fi’s strong Friday launches (Daily Variety, July 19), Lifetime’s Monday movie “Murder in the Hamptons” (4.83m), and ESPN’s “Home Run Derby” on Monday (2.5/8 in 18-49, 6.33m), which tied with five broadcast shows as the No. 16 program of the week in 18-49.
ESPN also garnered record numbers Sunday for its annual kudocast “The Espys” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 3.27m), which benefited by airing behind a Yankees-Red Sox game.
Disney Channel enjoyed another strong turnout for one of its original movies as “Life Is Ruff” averaged 4.39 million viewers Friday and racked up a national 17 share in female teens.