‘Wipeout’ sweeps over competition

ABC show premieres to top numbers

ABC’s wacky new obstacle-course skein “Wipeout” tripped up the competish in its bow Tuesday, becoming the net’s top-rated summer preem in three years.

Meanwhile, on an unusually busy June night, NBC did OK with its launch of “Celebrity Family Feud” and ABC followed “Wipeout” with solid numbers for another newbie, “I Survived a Japanese Game Show.” Fox also remained potent with “Hell’s Kitchen,” and BET made some noise with its annual “BET Awards” kudocast.

Going head to head, “Wipeout,” inspired by the likes of Spike’s “Most Extreme Elimination Competition,” easily defeated NBC’s competing preem of “Celebrity Family Feud,” which the Peacock had recently moved up a week in an attempt to blunt the ABC entry.

Fox also seemed to fear “Wipeout,” opting to bench “The Moment of Truth” and replace it with a repeat of the previous week’s “Hell’s Kitchen.”

According to Nielsen national estimates that include same-night DVR playback, “Wipeout” averaged a 3.7 rating/12 share in adults 18-49 and 9.98 million viewers overall, dominating the 8 o’clock hour with the Alphabet’s strongest regular-program delivery in the time period since “Dancing With the Stars” in November 2006.

In a good sign, “Wipeout” grew nicely on the half-hour, gaining 2 share points in most categories at 8:30.

Debut is the strongest for a summer series on any net since last July’s “The Singing Bee” on NBC. It’s also the best 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.

Audience for “Wipeout” — which was promoted regularly during the NBA Finals — was fairly balanced, with women accounting for about 55% of its adults 18-49 viewership.

“Wipeout” provided a strong lead-in for another new reality competition, “I Survived a Japanese Game Show” (3.1/9 in 18-49, 8.00m), which placed second in the competitive 9 o’clock hour, though it fell to third among young adults in its second half-hour.

ABC closed out the night with a solid showing for the season premiere of limited-run newsmag “Primetime: The Outsiders” (2.5/7, 6.60m).

At NBC, “Celebrity Family Feud” (2.3/8 in 18-49, 8.82m) hit a 10-week timeslot high for the net and ran second to “Wipeout” in all key categories. It was followed by a two-hour installment of “America’s Got Talent” (3.1/9 in 18-49, 11.69m), which declined 16% vs. its week-earlier season premiere but still handily won its second hour and was the night’s most-watched program overall.

Fox didn’t do much in the opening hour with its “Hell’s Kitchen” encore (1.3/4, 3.29m) but then moved to the demo lead at 9 with the regular firstrun episode of the cooking competition (3.6/10 in 18-49, 7.81m), which wraps its season in a couple of weeks.

At BET, the eighth annual “BET Awards” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 5.85m) may have been down 14% year to year but was still easily cable’s top draw of the night. In 18-49, the net edged out CBS, which went with all repeats and was led by a special “48 Hours Mystery” at 9 o’clock (1.6/4, 7.55m).

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