Show finishes fifth in regular timeslot

Fox’s unscripted Hollywood competish “On the Lot” bowed in its regular timeslot Monday night to a fifth-place finish among the broadcasters.

After failing to ignite much interest with a pair of preview episodes last week — including one following the final “American Idol” performance show of the season — the search for the next great film director settled for fewer than 3 million viewers.

Of course, Memorial Day isn’t a great night to kick off a series, and Fox can hope that its audience grows from here. But the net could be forced to yell “Cut!” if numbers remain at this level — which are low even by summer standards.

Based on preliminary same-day Nielsen nationals for Monday, “On the Lot” averaged a 1.3 rating/4 share in adults 18-49 and 2.9 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m., peaking with about 3.1 million from 8:30 to 9.

Those numbers left the net behind repeats on CBS as well as firstrun programming on ABC, NBC and Univision; Fox also may have trailed a cabler or two in the 9 o’clock hour.

Show’s regular airing pattern is an hour on Monday, followed by a “box office” results show Tuesday.

Elsewhere Monday, ABC’s new limited-run series “Ex-Wives Club” (prelim 2.0/5 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall) placed third at 9 o’clock, airing behind a slot-leading original episode of “Wife Swap” (prelim 2.3/7, 6.3 million). This repped a slight improvement over last year’s “How to Get the Guy,” which bowed on a Monday in June.

NBC’s coverage of “The Miss Universe Pageant” settled for a prelim 2.4/7 in 18-49, and 7.1 million viewers overall from 9 to 11 p.m. — down 25% from last year’s July airing and believed to be the pageant’s lowest numbers in at least 20 years. It didn’t get much help from its lackluster lead-in — an original episode of reality series “The Real Wedding Crashers” (prelim 1.5/5 in 18-49, 4.1 million).

With firstrun fare struggling on other nets, CBS cleaned up by claiming the top three programs of the night with repeats of “Two and a Half Men” (prelim 3.4/9 in 18-49, 10.7 million), “The King of Queens” (3.0/8, 8.8 million) and “CSI: Miami” (2.9/8, 9.4 million).

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Due to the Monday holiday, the primetime ratings report and charts for the week of May 21-27 will appear in Thursday’s edition.

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