'Hell's Kitchen' helps heat up Fox

The season premiere of “Hell’s Kitchen” helped Fox get cooking on Tuesday, but the night’s top draw remains NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” which delivered the largest audience for any series episode on television in two months.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, the two-hour opener of “Hell’s Kitchen” averaged a 3.0 rating/9 share in adults 18-49 and 6.5 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m. Fox broke out the premiere into two separate hours, with the 8 o’clock segment averaging a winning 2.8/9 in 18-49 and 6.0 million viewers overall and the second hour earning a strong second-place demo score of 3.3/9 and 7.0 million viewers overall.

It’s tough to make comparisons for recent editions of “Hell’s Kitchen,” which has typically bowed to bigger numbers behind an episode of “American Idol,” but the net has to be happy that it won its two-hour block in 18-49 and that its second hour stood as the evening’s top-rated program among adults 18-34 (2.8/9).

Beginning next week, “Hell’s Kitchen” will be teamed on Tuesday with new dating series “More to Love.”

“Hell’s Kitchen” thrived this week despite tough unscripted competition from NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” (3.4/10 in 18-49, 13.6 million viewers overall), which was down a bit among young adults but up week to week in total viewers. In fact, last night’s installment of the variety contest drew the largest overall audience for any series telecast since the finale of Fox’s “American Idol” a couple of months ago.

ABC continues to struggle with its unscripted entry on the night, “The Superstars” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall), while CBS was down a tick week to week with 9 o’clock reality series “Big Brother” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall).

NBC led at 10 p.m. with a repeat of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall), which won out over ABC’s original newsmag “Primetime: Family Secrets” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) and the CBS debut of former NBC series “Medium” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 3.0/9; NBC, 2.5/8; CBS, 1.5/5; Univision, 1.4/4; ABC, 1.1/3; CW, 0.4/1.

In total viewers: NBC, 9.8 million; Fox, 6.5 million; CBS, 6.4 million; Univision, 3.4 million; ABC, 3.3 million; CW, 1.1 million.

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