'Beauty and the Geek' posts solid numbers

On the final Tuesday before the start of the new season, CBS summer stalwart “Big Brother” finished strongly, while NBC’s “Biggest Loser” grew in its second week. Both overshadowed CW’s “Beauty and the Geek,” which kicked off its fourth season with solid but unspectacular numbers.

“Big Brother 8,” in which Dick Donato beat out his daughter Daniele to win the $500,000 top prize, set season highs in demos to stand as the night’s top-rated program. It finished with a higher season average than the previous year’s all-stars edition.

Voyeuristic skein also emerged as the summer series gaining the most viewers when same-week DVR playback is included (see chart). Nielsen estimates that, on average, each episode of “Big Brother” picked up about 930,000 viewers in “time-shifted” viewing.

On Tuesday, “Big Brother” averaged a summer-high 3.4 rating/9 share in adults 18-49 and 8.67 million viewers overall, a 10% improvement in the demo over last summer’s finale.

It’s the highest-rated CBS primetime telecast in adults 18-49 since May 28 (“Two and a Half Men” repeat) and the highest in adults 18-34 (2.7/8) since May 24 (“CSI” repeat).

NBC’s two-hour “Biggest Loser” (3.4/9 in 18-49, 7.94m) was up week to week, tying “Big Brother” as the night’s top show in 18-49 rating and topping “Brother” head to head from 9 to 10. “Loser” improved by 17% over its week-two performance of last fall (2.9/8), when it aired opposite more regular firstrun programming.

At the CW, “Beauty and the Geek” averaged a 1.7/5 in 18-49 and 3.38 million viewers overall — down from its third-season bow in January (2.2/6 in 18-49, 4.9 million) but not bad for a network that practically went dark during summer, averaging just 1.9 million viewers. It grew in each quarter hour, starting with a 1.3 rating among adults 18-34 and closing with a 2.5.

In persons 12-34, “Geek” averaged a solid 1.9/6 from 8 to 10, trailing only NBC’s “Loser” (2.5/8). And it looked especially pretty in several key markets, placing first among femmes 18-34 on the CW’s affils in New York, Chicago and Dallas.

Looking at other firstrun programming, ABC’s “Just for Laughs” (average 2.0/6 in 18-49, 6.83 million viewers overall for its two half-hours) and CBS’ “Power of 10” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 7.76m) put up similar numbers in the night’s opening hour, and ABC didn’t do much from 9 to 11 with its spec “Elvis: Viva Las Vegas” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.40m).

Final national ratings for last week, meanwhile, showed that MyNetworkTV enjoyed its strongest showing to date. Thanks to new series like “Jail” and “Decision House” as well as theatricals, including “U.S. Marshals” and “The Principal,” the net averaged 1.21 million viewers for the frame.

Despite establishing that high-water mark, MyNet still ran 24th in primetime, lagging seven broadcast nets and 16 cablers in total viewership.

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