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NBC’s ‘Talent’ tops Tuesday

Finale brings in 13.9 million viewers

For a second straight summer, no new reality series on the broadcast nets has broken out into a smash — but returning shows continue to perform well.

On Tuesday, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” wrapped its second season with nice gains over its first season-ender, dominating its timeslot and finishing its run up over last year. It joins other returnees such as Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and CBS’ “Big Brother” that spiked up this summer.

The bad news for the broadcasters, though, is that in a summer when cable has made big strides with scripted programming, auds have been less inclined to settle for repeats on the Big Four. As a result, the major nets are down 11% vs. last summer in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen.

Looking at Tuesday, “America’s Got Talent” averaged a 4.2 rating/12 share in adults 18-49 and 13.94 million viewers overall from 8 to 10:02 p.m., up 20% in the demo over last year’s first-season finale (3.5/10). In total viewers, audience is the largest for any broadcast program since May 29 (season finale of Fox’s “House”) and the biggest in the time period for NBC (excluding the Olympics) since November 2005.

“Talent,” which added a new host (Jerry Springer) and judge (Sharon Osbourne) in its second season, will finish as summer’s No. 2 program in 18-49, behind only Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen,” and the No. 1 series overall in total viewers. It has been picked up for a third season next summer.

The “Talent” finale led into a special hourlong episode of “The Singing Bee” at 10 o’clock (3.2/9 in 18-49, 8.88m), with the karaoke contest easily winning its hour.  

Tuesday remains the strongest night of summer for ABC, with back-to-back episodes of “Just for Laughs” (including a 2.6/8 in 18-49, 7.68m from 8:30 to 9 p.m.), followed by ABC News programs “I-Caught” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 5.00m) and “Primetime: Crime” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 6.33m). A timeslot swap helped both “I-Caught” and “Primetime” improve week to week.

And CBS was again strong in the night’s middle hour with “Big Brother 8” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 7.30m), which ran second to “Talent” across the board. “Brother” followed a repeat of quizzer “Power of 10” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 2.40m), with the Drew Carey-hosted show now set to air both Tuesday and Wednesday in the weeks leading up to the new television season.

At Fox, reality series “On the Lot” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 2.40m) saw a slight bump for its finale, although the net remained well behind the other major broadcasters in the 8 o’clock hour.

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