Network wins with All-Star Game, 'Dance'

Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game scored big for Fox last week, as the Midsummer Classic combined with “So You Think You Can Dance” to lift the net to another demo victory.

NBC also made some noise with “America’s Got Talent,” which stood as the top-rated entertainment series in both young adults and total viewers for a fourth straight frame.

Overall, though, the summer continues to be the time for cable to shine and last week was no exception. Disney Channel, USA, ESPN and TNT were among the cablers with standout Nielsen performances.

Leading the way for cable was Disney Channel’s 90-minute crossover stunt “Wizards on Deck With Hannah Montana,” which drew 9.29 million viewers on Friday and commanded a huge 53 share among kids 6-11 and tweens 9-14. The special combined characters from the net’s series “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “The Suite Life on Deck” and “Hannah Montana.”

It was the week’s No. 1 non-sports primetime telecast among persons 12-34 (3.5/16) and stands as television’s No. 2 telecast of the year in kids 6-11 (3.8 million), behind only NBC’s coverage of the Super Bowl.

An episode of “Hannah Montana” following at 9:30 bagged 6.09 million viewers, and Disney Channel led all cablers in primetime audience for the week, averaging 3.31 million to 3.18 million for usual leader USA.

USA stood strong, though, remaining on top in its target 18-49 and 25-54 demos.

“Burn Notice” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 6.66m) and “Royal Pains” (1.9/6, 6.23m) continue to make a good pair Thursday, with the former hitting a series high in total viewers and the latter retaining nearly all of its lead-in. For the night, USA doubled or tripled the next closest cabler (TBS) in various demo categories.

ESPN scored on Monday with its annual “Home Run Derby” special (3.2/10 in 18-49, 8.25m). Airing on the eve of baseball’s All-Star Game, it bested all broadcast programming on the night among adults 18-49.

HBO’s Sunday trio of “True Blood” (2.0/6, 3.85m), “Hung” (1.5/4, 2.77m) and “Entourage” (1.6/5, 2.69m) continues to click. And on the same night, Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva” held up pretty well in its second outing (0.8/2, 2.46m), leading into “Army Wives” (1.3/4, 3.79m).

Also, MTV’s season finale of “16 and Pregnant” hit series highs in both persons 12-34 (1.6/6) and total viewers (2.14 million), standing as Thursday’s top cable program in the demo; and Syfy’s “Warehouse 13″ (3.47m) retained nearly all of its premiere-week aud and grew some in key male demos.

TNT’s preem of “Dark Blue” on Wednesday (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.54m) retained most of its lead-in from the returning “Leverage” (1.0/3, 3.89m), while the net’s “Hawthorne” continues to post sturdy scores on Tuesday (1.0/3, 3.21m). And Monday staple “The Closer” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 6.59m) drew the week’s largest overall aud for a scripted cable drama.

In overall Nielsen averages for the week, Fox led in 18-49 with a 2.1 rating/7 share, followed by CBS and NBC (both at 1.4/5), ABC and Univision (both 1.3/4) and USA (1.0/3).

The net also prevailed in adults 25-54 (2.3/7), persons 12-34 (1.6/7) and total viewers (6.21 million), edging past CBS in the latter (6.19 million).

Fox was paced by the “80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game,” the week’s No. 1 program in both adults 18-49 (4.7/14) and total viewers (14.59m). This was the contest’s best result in the demo since 2004, and its largest overall audience since 2002.

Fox also was propped up by top-10 installments of “So You Think You Can Dance” on Wednesday (2.6/9 in 18-49, 6.95m) and Thursday (2.6/8, 7.20m) and continues to get decent mileage out of repeats of animated laffers “Family Guy” (2.0/6, 3.86m) and “The Simpsons” (1.7/6, 3.39m).

NBC’s Tuesday seg of “America’s Got Talent” claimed the No. 2 spot in the program rankings for the week (3.7/11 in 18-49, 13.51m), racking up the largest overall aud for any primetime series telecast since the “American Idol” finale on Fox in May.

Not so hot were the Peacock’s three firstrun scripted skeins, each of which delivered identical demo scores: Wednesday’s “The Philanthropist” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 4.28m), Thursday’s “The Listener” (1.1/4, 3.87m) and Sunday’s “Merlin” (1.1/4, 4.36m).

CBS was led by compatible comedy combo “Two and a Half Men” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 9.12m) and “The Big Bang Theory” (2.7/7, 8.23m), but its “Big Brother” is off to a slower start than usual, led by Tuesday’s seg (2.1/6, 6.16m).

ABC was propped up by unscripted series “The Bachelorette” (2.7/8, 8.01m) and “Wipeout” (2.6/10, 7.69m), making up for firstrun duds like “The Goode Family” (0.5/2, 1.47m), “Dirty Sexy Money” (0.5/2, 2.13m) and “The Superstars” (1.1/4, 3.62m).

Univision was led by its annual youth awards show “Premios Juventud” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 4.15m), which ranked second only to Fox on Thursday among young adults.

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