Summer season starts with a whimper

With “American Idol” in the rear-view mirror, summer has begun – and with it night after night of lovely weather and anemic primetime ratings. The premiere of the seventh season of “So You Think You Can Dance” was the only broadcast program to score more than a 2.0 rating among adults 18-49, easily lifting Fox to a Thursday victory in the demo.

Spanish-language network Univision drew more viewers than NBC or ABC and just missed topping CBS in 18-49.

Airing from 8-10 p.m., “Dance” (3.0 rating/10 share in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall) was up 11% in the demo and 20% in total viewers compared with its fall season premiere in 2009.

Coming in second place from 8-9 p.m. was the finale of troubled ABC drama “FlashForward” (1.3/5, 5.0 million), which limped to the finish line by matching the lowest 18-49 numbers of its run.

In a poor man’s preview of the fall season, CBS ran sitcoms against those of NBC in the opening hour of primetime Thursday – all reruns, however, and none of them “The Big Bang Theory.” First, “How I Met Your Mother” (1.1/4, 4.0 million) edged NBC’s “Community” (0.9/3, 3.0 million), while “Rules of Engagement” (1.3/4, 4.6 million) did even better, topping the premiere of NBC burnoff comedy “100 Questions” (0/8/3, 2.5 million).

The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” (0.8/3, 1.8 million) nearly bested NBC in the hour in 18-49, and firmly outperformed CBS and NBC among women 18-49.

All of these shows scored better than ABC’s special “Hollywood Salutes Matt Damon: An American Cinematheque Tribute” (0.8/2, 3.3 million) and the CW’s “Supernatural” (0/5/2, 1.5 million) which came in last at 9 p.m. After “Dance,” the top-rated show in primetime’s middle hour was CBS’ “CSI” (1.6/5, 8.3 million), followed by NBC’s combo of “The Office” (1.3/4, 3.0 million) and “30 Rock” (1.2/4, 2.8 million).

CBS’ “The Mentalist” (1.8/6, 9.9 million) dominated at 10 p.m., drawing more overall viewers than the combined efforts of reruns of another “Office” (1.2/4, 3.0 million) and “Parks and Recreation” (1.1/3, 2.3 million) on NBC and “Grey’s Anatomy (0.9/3,

3.1 million) on ABC.

Preliminary 18-49 ratings: Fox 3.0/10, CBS 1.6/5, Univision 1.6/5, NBC 1.1/3. ABC 1.0/3, CW 0.6/2.

In total viewers: Fox 8.2 million, CBS 7.5 million, Univision 3.9 million, ABC 3.8 million, NBC 2.7 million, CW 1.6 million.

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