Iraq-set drama riding high on critical, commercial success

A correction was made to this article on Aug. 1, 2005.

FX may have another drama success on its hands as war-themed hour “Over There” opened as cable’s top draw Wednesday.

Cabler, riding high with the critical and commercial success of “The Shield” and “Rescue Me,” attracted nearly 4.1 million viewers with Steven Bochco’s look at the current war in Iraq. Critically hailed drama fared especially well among men.

Meanwhile, on the broadcast side, Fox’s unscripted competish skein “So You Think You Can Dance” lost more than one-quarter of its big week-earlier preem aud, and UPN created some noise in a crowded timeslot with its new unscripted series “R U the Girl With T-Boz & Chilli.”

Wednesday’s highlight, though, was “Over There” (1.8 rating/5 share in adults 18-49, 4.06 million viewers overall). Its average of roughly 2.4 million viewers in the 18-49 demo ranks sixth among basic-cable premieres to date — behind only USA’s “Dead Zone” (4 million), FX’s “The Shield” (3 million), TNT’s “The Closer” (2.6 million), USA’s “The 4400” (2.6 million) and FX’s “Rescue Me” (2.5 million).

The 20th Century Fox drama, from exec producers Bochco and Chris Gerolmo, beat all of its competish at 10 — broadcast and cable — among men 18-34 (2.0/7).

A second airing at 11 o’clock Wednesday night drew an additional 1.7 million viewers (including 1 million adults 18-49).

Earlier in the evening, “So You Think You Can Dance” (3.3/11 in 18-49, 8.02m) dropped off a surprising 28% in 18-49 week-to-week, although it still led from 8 to 9:30. Show, which bowed with a two-hour seg last week and went 90 minutes Wednesday, will pare back to its intended 60-minute format next week.

Biggest falloff from its preem came among adults 18-34, tumbling 33% (3.3 vs. 4.9), although show again fared best among women 18-34 (4.4/14).

“Dance” likely was somewhat affected by a glut of unscripted programs vying for viewers’ attention in Wednesday’s opening hour. In addition to UPN’s “R U the Girl,” ABC’s repeat of “Brat Camp” and CBS’ “The Cut,” NBC inexplicably tossed into the mix the finale of Tuesday skein “Average Joe 4.”

“Joe,” which wasn’t doing much on its regular night, wrapped with a 1.7/6 in 18-49 and 4.24 million viewers overall — ahead of the Eye’s weak “The Cut” (1.3/4, 3.80m) but below the Alphabet’s “Brat” repeat (1.9/6, 5.86m).

At UPN, “R U the Girl,” a competish series in which T-Boz and Chilli of TLC look for a third female performer to join the music group, averaged a 1.2/4 in 18-49 and 2.69 million viewers.

It ran fourth from 8 to 9 in adults 18-34 (1.3/5) and moved up to second in women 18-34 (2.1/7), improving on the net’s perf in the 8 o’clock hour with repeats this summer by more than 40% across the board.

From 9 to 10, the firstrun seg of ABC’s “Brat Camp” led in most categories (3.3/10 in 18-49, 8.89m) but fell 11% week-to-week. It tied Fox’s “Dance” as the night’s highest-rated show in 18-49 and stood as Wednesday’s most-watched show overall, according to Nielsen.

In the 9 o’clock half-hour, CBS’ “Rock Star” picked up some (2.0/6, 4.33m), running third in key demos.

Each adults 18-49 ratings point equals roughly 1.3 million viewers.

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