Vet series perform, newbies struggle
As the summer winds down, it’s clear that auds are sticking with their favorite warm-weather reality shows and shunning any new offerings.Last week saw impressive performances from the veteran likes of Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and CBS’ “Big Brother,” but it also ended with a couple of newbies struggling out of the gate — the Eye’s “There Goes the Neighborhood” and the Alphabet’s “Shark Tank.” While the jury’s still out on a couple of decently performing romance-competition skeins that bowed this summer — Fox’s “More to Love” and ABC’s “Dating in the Dark” — no new nonscripted series on the broadcast nets has clicked. ABC’s “Superstars,” NBC’s “Great American Road Trip” and CW’s “Hitched or Ditched” were among those that fizzled. Just about the only new summer staple to emerge the last couple of years has been ABC’s “Wipeout,” which remains a top-10 performer and is returning next year. Overall for the week of Aug. 3-9, Fox led in adults 18-49 with a 2.0 rating/7 share, followed by NBC (1.7/6), CBS (1.5/5), Univision (1.2/4) and ABC and USA (both 1.1/4), according to Nielsen estimates. Not only did USA catch ABC in 18-49, but it also beat it easily in total viewers (4.1 million to 3.5 million). Cabler, thanks in part to a record audience for the summer finale of “Burn Notice,” drew its largest weekly aud ever. CBS again drew a larger weekly crowd than any other net (6.15 million), and the Eye finished in a three-way tie with NBC and Fox for the lead among adults 25-54 (2.1/6). For Fox, “So You Think You Can Dance” wrapped its season with a big finale on Thursday (3.5/11 in 18-49, 9.57m), up a bit vs. its conclusion of last summer and just a tick behind NBC’s Tuesday edition of “America’s Got Talent” (3.6/11, 12.96m) as the week’s top 18-49 draw. There won’t be much rest for “Dance,” as the series will anchor Fox’s midweek lineup in the fall for the first time, airing for two hours on Tuesday and another hour on Wednesday. And since it’s set for an early fall launch (Sept. 9), “Dance” will be off the air for only about a month. Fox was also boosted by Tuesday’s “Hell’s Kitchen” (3.2/11 in 18-49, 6.74m), while lead-out “More to Love” is hanging in there (1.8/5, 3.84m). NBC moved up to second for the week in 18-49 thanks to “America’s Got Talent” on both Tuesday and Wednesday (2.9/9, 10.67m) and a big finish to the frame courtesy of the NFL’s Hall of Fame preseason game between the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills (2.9/8, 7.92m). At CBS, “Big Brother 11″ enjoyed its highest-rated week, led by Sunday’s seg, which logged the best numbers for any night this summer (2.6/8, 7.15m). All three editions of the skein placed among the week’s top 12 programs. The Eye also continues to impress with repeats of its Monday laffers “Two and a Half Men” (2.8/8, 9.46m) and “The Big Bang Theory” (2.7/8, 8.39m), both of which dominated their timeslots. ABC was led by “Wipeout” (2.8/10 in 18-49, 8.02m) but did little elsewhere. Week ended meekly with the net’s firstrun Sunday trio of the returning “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 7.00m), the debut of “Shark Tank” (1.3/4, 4.15m) and the second week of firstrun drama “Defying Gravity” (1.0/3, 2.63m). In cable, Nickelodeon drew the week’s largest aud with its Saturday “iCarly” movie spec “iFight Shelby Marx” (1.2/5 in 18-49, 7.87m), which pulled in 4.3 million kids 2-11 and an impressive 32 share in teens 12-17. USA’s “Burn Notice” ended its summer run on a high note (2.1/7 in 18-49, 7.59m), hitting a series high in adults 25-54 (2.8/8) and drawing the largest-ever aud for any series episode on the network. Lead-out “Royal Pains” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 6.69m) also hit highs in some categories. TLC’s “Jon and Kate Plus 8″ returned from its hiatus to good numbers (1.9/5 in 18-49, 4.08m average for two segs), though well off its peak when the eponymous couple announced in June that they were calling it quits. ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” matchup between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox (1.5/5 in 18-49, 4.70m) drew the largest aud for a regular season baseball game on the cabler in two years (since a September 2007 matchup between the same rivals). Elsewhere, ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.56m) won its Monday hour among adults 18-34 (1.7/6); Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 2.70m) grew a bit from its impressive preem of the previous week; and HBO’s “True Blood” hit more highs (2.3/6, 4.43m) and tied for 12th place for the week in 18-49. And BBC America claimed its most-watched week ever (July 20-26) with its five-night event “Torchwood: Children of Earth.” The mini averaged 705,000 viewers, and the net itself pulled in 411,000 — nearly four times what it earned the previous week.