CBS’ ‘Pirate’ starts slowly

Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

“Pirate Masters,” the new unscripted series from “Survivor” creator Mark Burnett, didn’t do a whole lot in its series premiere Thursday night for CBS, bested by another of Burnett’s shows, “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” on Fox.

According to preliminary same-day Nielsen nationals, “5th Grader” (3.1 rating/11 share in adults 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall) easily led the 8 o’clock hour, with “Pirate Masters” placing second (2.3/8 in 18-49, 7.1 million viewers overall). “Pirate” delivered about half the demo rating of what “Survivor” averaged in the timeslot this spring and was on par or up slightly in various categories vs. what the Eye’s “Game Show Marathon” netted in the hour on the same week a year ago.

Fox went on to win the 9 o’clock hour in most key categories with “So You Think You Can Dance” (4.3/12 in 18-49, 10.5 million viewers overall), combining with “5th Grader” to give the net its best Thursday with entertainment programming (excluding nights of “American Idol”) in one year.

CBS was a solid second in demos and first in total viewers at 9 with a repeat of “CSI” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall) and figures to win the 10 o’clock hour with a repeat of “Shark” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall).

At ABC, the “Scripps National Spelling Bee” (which aired from 8 until about 10:10 p.m.) should come in with about a 2.1/6 in 18-49 and 7.2 million viewers overall, down more than 15% from last year’s event, which also aired on the first Thursday of the summer television season. A special repeat of “Grey’s Anatomy” closed out the night (roughly 1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall).

NBC was well behind the pack on the night with repeats of comedies “My Name Is Earl” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall), “30 Rock” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall), “The Office” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall) and “Scrubs” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall). And at 10, an original episode of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall) ran third among the broadcast nets.

Cable was expected to be a factor on the night with the overtime NBA playoff game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons on TNT and the premiere of longform project “The Starter Wife” on USA, ratings for which won’t be released until the afternoon.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 3.7/12; CBS, 2.6/8; Univision, 2.0/6; ABC, 1.9/6; NBC, 1.7/5; CW, 0.8/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 9.6 million; CBS, 9.4 million; ABC, 6.4 million; Univision, 4.4 million; NBC, 4.2 million; CW, 1.9 million.

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