Spike sharp with ‘Blade’

Skein takes big bite of audience share

Spike TV’s two-hour kickoff of “Blade: The Series” attracted 2.5 million viewers Wednesday, making it the most-watched original series premiere in the network’s history.

Skein, based on the theatrical franchise that starred Wesley Snipes, reps the cabler’s initial foray into scripted drama.

“Blade” was cable’s top-rated show of the night in adults 18-49; its 1.3 rating/4 share in the demo was enough to top ABC’s weak-repeating drama hit “Lost” (1.1/3) during the 10 o’clock hour.

Spike TV bills itself as the network for men, and almost half of the “Blade” aud consisted of men 18-49, the net’s target demo. Another 1.2 million total viewers watched the repeat of “Blade” from midnight to 2, and more than half of those were men 18-49.

“These numbers have put us right in the game,” said Spike TV prexy Doug Herzog. “It’s the first scripted original we’ve ever done, and ‘Blade’ was the No. 1 entertainment show for the night in men 18-34 and men 18-49.”

Herzog said Spike is moving ahead on the greenlit pilots for two more scripted action series: “Amped,” about a mysterious epidemic that hits Los Angeles, and “The Kill Pit,” which follows a botched bank robbery and its aftermath in real time.

“Blade,” shot in Vancouver by Marvel Films and New Line TV, is based on the theatrical movie and its two sequels. Kirk “Sticky” Jones takes over for Snipes in the title role of a vampire hunter.

ABC Family had its own solid scripted-series bow in primetime this week in the form of Monday’s one-hour “Kyle XY,” which drew 2.64 million viewers.

On the broadcast side Wednesday, it was pretty much a draw when summer’s two top skeins — Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” and NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” — met head-to-head for a second time.

The pair were in a virtual tie in the 18-49 demo (3.85 for “Dance” to 3.8 for “Talent”), with the Peacock talent show moving ahead in adults 25-54 (4.3 to 4.1), key male demos and total viewers (11 million to 9.7 million). Fox skein led in persons 12-34 (3.6 to 3.1) and key female demos.

“Talent” was down 14% in 18-49 from its 9 o’clock hour last week (4.4) and off 17% from its whole-program average (4.6).

For its two hours, “Dance” (3.5/11, 8.80m) slipped a tick week-to-week.

It’s unfortunate for both that these unscripted skeins, which appeal to a similar aud, are up against each other. “Dance” will shift to one-hour performance segs (9-10 p.m.) beginning July 12, while “Talent” will continue to air 60-minute segs in the time period.

Results-show editions also will oppose each other Thursdays when “Talent” airs its first on July 13.

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