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Reality boosts networks

Fox stays hot; ABC, NBC gain traction

Fox remains the net to beat this summer among young adults, but ABC and NBC are starting to make some noise with new reality shows.

After the first month of the summer season failed to produce any promising unscripted newbies, ABC hit one out of the park Tuesday with “Wipeout,” and also delivered good numbers for the show that followed it, “I Survived a Japanese Gameshow.”

And NBC last week saw its two most impressive preems of summer in “Baby Borrowers” and “Celebrity Family Feud.” The Peacock is also benefiting from the U.S. Olympic Trials, leading up to the Summer Games, which the net will carry beginning Aug. 8.

Despite the sked upgrades at NBC and ABC, Fox still had enough to win the June 23-29 frame among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen. The net’s 2.0 rating/7 share edged out NBC (1.9/6) and ABC (1.7/5), which were followed by CBS (1.5/5), Univision (1.4/4) and USA (1.0/3).

In other categories, NBC captured the frame in adults 25-54 (2.3/7), Fox in those 12-34 (1.7/6) and CBS in total viewers (6.59 million).

For Fox, its 24th demo victory in the last 25 weeks was paced by “Hell’s Kitchen” (3.6/10 in 18-49, 7.80m) and “So You Think You Can Dance” (3.1/10, 8.29m on Wednesday and 3.1/9, 8.63m). Shows ranked among the top five programs in 18-49 despite week-to-week declines.

Net also won Saturday, as “America’s Most Wanted” was easily the night’s top demo draw (1.9/7, 5.20m).

Leading the way for NBC was week two of “America’s Got Talent” (3.1/9 in 18-49, 11.68m) and the solid premieres of “Baby Borrowers” on Wednesday (2.9/9, 7.95m) and “Celebrity Family Feud” on Tuesday (2.3/8, 8.82m). “Borrowers” gave the net its top series rating in the time period in six months, while “Feud” produced a 10-week slot high.

The Peacock won Sunday with altogether different firstrun fare, courtesy of U.S. Olympic Track & Field and Swimming Trials (1.6/5, 5.59m) and “Dateline” (2.2/6, 7.44m).

At ABC, “Wipeout” (3.7/12 in 18-49, 9.98m) opened to the best preem scores for any summer show in nearly a year (Daily Variety, June 26) and gave the net its best regular-program score in Tuesday’s leadoff hour in 18 months.

It was also the strongest ABC summer preem since “Brat Camp” in 2005, and it’s the best the net has fared with a series in the timeslot during the summer months since “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” in June 2001.

Elsewhere Tuesday, “I Survived a Japanese Game Show” (3.1/9, 8.00m) opened well opposite two tough reality foes, and the preem of newsmag “Primetime: The Outsiders” (2.5/7, 6.60m) ran second in its 10 o’clock hour. Net’s news division then rolled out the preems of “Primetime: Crime” on Wednesday (1.9/5, 6.94m) and “Hopkins” (1.6/5, 5.92m) on Thursday, with both building on their lead-ins.

CBS was led by Monday’s repeat of “Two and a Half Men” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 9.22m), and saw Sunday’s “Million Dollar Password” improve a bit (1.7/5, 8.49m) following the previous week’s low. The same can’t be said of Thursday’s “Swingtown” (1.9/6, 5.63m), which has declined in each of the past three weeks following its debut.

CBS will add to its firstrun slate this month with drama “Flashpoint,” reality newbie “America’s Greatest Dog” and summer stalwart “Big Brother.”

Of note at an otherwise quiet CW was the season finale of “Farmer Wants a Wife” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.48m), which matched or set highs in various categories.

Three hours of “WWE Raw” on Monday — led by the 10 o’clock hour (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.17m) — helped USA make it look easy in claiming cable’s top spot for the week. In addition to its firstrun dramas, the net also got a boost from Saturday theatrical “National Treasure” (1.0/4 in 18-49, 2.78m), which beat ABC, CBS and NBC head-to-head in 18-49.

BET’s “BET Awards” ruled as cable’s top entertainment program of the week (2.4/7 in 18-49, 5.85m). Despite year-to-year declines of about 10%-15% in various categories, it ranked 14th among all primetime programs for the week in 18-49 and first in persons 12-34 (3.5/12).

Airing head-to-head in Sunday’s 10 o’clock hour, USA’s “In Plain Sight” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.46m) and Lifetime’s “Army Wives” (1.4/4, 3.84m) tied as the night’s top cable draw in 18-49, with “Sight” having to build on its lower-than-usual lead-in from “Law & Order: CI” (1.1/3, 4.05m).

Other top cable performers last week included ESPN’s coverage of the NBA Draft on Thursday (1.4/5 in 18-49, 2.90m) and Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch” on Tuesday (1.3/4, 2.58m).

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