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‘Rock’ doesn’t roll

Burnett reality skein hits flat note in bow

Just a few days after the finale of “Dancing With the Stars” scored sizzling numbers for ABC, the premiere of Mark Burnett’s “Rock Star” gave CBS little to sing about.

Eye’s much-touted talent competish got off to a surprisingly slow start Monday, finishing fourth in the 9 p.m. hour among total viewers. “Rock Star,” designed to find a new lead singer for 1980s hitmakers INXS, did a bit better in adults 18-49 but still ranked well behind Fox’s slow-build summer skein “Hell’s Kitchen.”

CBS and Burnett no doubt hope “Rock Star” can build momentum with its thrice-weekly air schedule. A performance episode aired Tuesday, with summer staple “Big Brother” as its lead-in, while an elimination seg is slated for tonight. Also encouraging: “Rock Star” grew a bit in its second half-hour, and it ranked second for the hour in young adults.

Overall, “Rock Star” averaged some 5.6 million viewers and a 2.4/7 in adults 18-49. Demo rating is down about 20% from what CBS had been averaging in the 9-10 p.m. slot with repeats of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Two and a Half Men.”

It also reps the lowest premiere for a Burnett-produced skein on a broadcast net and comes on the heels of the poor ratings perf of Burnett’s NBC boxing skein “The Contender.”

Despite the lackluster ratings for “Rock Star,” unscripted skeins are still performing well this summer, particularly relative to repeats and original scripted skeins on the broadcast nets.

ABC’s “Dancing” ruled the first half of the summer season, wrapping up its six-episode run last week as TV’s top-rated show with a whopping 22.4 million viewers and a 6.7/19 in adults 18-49 (Daily Variety, July 8). That alone helped the Alphabet to its fifth consecutive weekly win among adults 18-49, tying CBS with a 2.0/7 in the demo.

Eye had sole possession of first in total viewers, marking its sixth straight win by that tally. It was boosted by the sixth season premiere of “Big Brother,” which dominated its Thursday timeslot and was the week’s No. 3 show in adults 18-49.

Other reality skeins landing in the demo top 20 last week included a repeat of “Dancing With the Stars” (No. 10), an “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” encore (No. 12), Fox’s new unscripted laffer “The Princes of Malibu” (No. 12), CBS’ quiet fighter “Fire Me … Please” (No. 14); and Fox perennial “America’s Most Wanted.”

The WB also had reason to be happy with finale numbers for “Beauty and the Geek,” which was the Frog’s top-rated show of the week. Its 2.0/7 among adults 18-49 doubled the average of the WB’s second most-watched show of the week — which was, natch, a Thursday repeat of the “Geek” finale.

And Viacom cablers MTV and VH1 had plenty of good news on the reality front last week.

Sunday’s bow of “Hogan Knows Best” notched a 1.9 in the 18-49 demo, making it the top-rated series debut in VH1’s history. It beat a record set earlier this year by “The Surreal Life,” which itself returned to strong numbers (1.5 in the demo).

VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club 2” averaged a weighty 1.4 in the demo and scored a healthy 34% increase over its series premiere earlier this year.

Meanwhile, there’s no stopping MTV’s “The Real World,” which last week averaged a 2.0 in the demo to finish among the top 40 shows on both broadcast and cable. Newcomer “The ’70s House” held on to about 80% of its “Real World” lead-in.

NBC’s unscripted slate, however, failed to wow last week, with neither of its originals — “I Want to Be a Hilton” and “Average Joe”– getting anywhere near the top 20. And in another sign of how far the Peacock’s Thursday comedies have fallen, repeats of “Joey” and “Will & Grace” actually ranked fourth in the 8 p.m. hour last week, behind CBS’ “Big Brother,” UPN’s “WWE Smackdown!” and comedy repeats on Fox.

Scripted fare still works well on cable during the summer, however.

USA’s season premiere of dramedy “Monk” averaged an impressive 2.4 rating in adults 18-49, making it cable’s top show and No. 17 among all primetime series last week. Skein actually outperformed everything on sister broadcast net NBC except two installments of Dick Wolf’s “Law & Order” franchise.

Lifetime also drew eyeballs Monday to its original pic “Murder in the Hamptons”; its 4.4 million viewers made it the year’s most-watched telepic on basic cable (tied with Lifetime’s April pic “Odd Girl Out”).

Through the first six weeks of the summer, ABC and Fox are the only real success stories, with both nets up 5% from year-ago averages.

Alphabet can chalk up its gains to “Dancing” as well as improved repeat numbers from skeins including “Lost.”

Fox, meanwhile, is doing better this summer by offering up fewer hours of firstrun fare than last summer. Originals like “Family Guy” and “Hell’s Kitchen,” along with impressive repeat numbers for procedural drama “House,” have been enough to give Fox a boost.

By contrast, NBC is down 23% vs. last summer, while CBS is off 13% and the WB is down 10% (even with the success of “Geek”). UPN is flat vs. last summer.

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