Scripted shows mack lack but net packs sports punch
The London Games are still a few weeks away, but NBC had auds in a patriotic frame of mind last week, dominating with Olympics trial events on seven nights and summer stalwart “America’s Got Talent” on three nights.The network may struggle ratings-wise on the scripted side, but it has shown via NFL football and reality shows like “Talent” and “The Voice” that it can still draw sizable primetime auds. NBC has consistently been one of the higher-rated networks during the warm-weather months. And its full 52-week ratings average is usually much more competitive with its rivals than during the traditional September-May period. Last week was the Peacock’s highest-rated frame since the week it aired the Super Bowl in early February. And looking ahead, the Olympics (July 27-Aug. 12) will certainly pad the net’s summer averages while also providing the Peacock a primo platform to promote its programs — some of which will launch before the traditional premiere week of late September. Overall for the June 25-July sesh, according to Nielsen estimates that include same-night DVR playback, NBC averaged a 2.0 rating/7 share in adults 18-49, followed by Fox (1.4/5), Univision (1.2/3), ABC (1.1/4) and CBS (1.0/3). The Peacock also led comfortably in adults 25-54 (2.5/7) and total viewers (7.2 million). It was a big week for unscripted programming, as the “BET Awards” on BET joined the NBC programs and reality show vets on Fox and ABC atop the rankings. The only scripted skeins among the week’s top 25 programs in adults 18-49 were HBO vet “True Blood,” FX’s new “Anger Management” and a repeat of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory.” At NBC, “America’s Got Talent” was extended to three nights and the installments claimed the top three series spots for the week in adults 18-49 and total viewers; Tuesday’s hourlong seg (3.2/9 in 18-49, 11.67 million viewers overall) was best in both categories. The Peacock was also strong throughout the week with Olympics trials action, including four hours (encompassing three sports) on Sunday. The two-hour women’s gymnastics portion from 9 to 11 p.m. averaged an impressive 3.3/9 in 18-49 while drawing a little over 10 million viewers overall — the top scores for any U.S. Olympics trials since 2000. The gymnastics trials tied with the “BET Awards” (which was flat vs. last year) as the week’s No. 1 program in 18-49, edging out NBC’s top “Talent” night. Elsewhere on the broadcast side, the top non-NBC programs were Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” (2.3/8, 5.51m) and “MasterChef” (2.3/7, 5.46m) and ABC’s “The Bachelorette” (2.3/7, 7.03m) — with the vets tying as the week’s No. 9 show in 18-49. Meanwhile, auds aren’t exactly flocking to summer’s new entries on the Big Four, including ABC’s trembling trio of “Glass House” (1.1/3, 3.09m), “Final Witness” (1.0/3, 4.21m) and “Duets” (1.0/3, 4.30m), CBS’ “Dogs in the City” (0.9/3, 4.72m), Fox’s dating shows “Take Me Out” (1.0/3, 2.23m) and “The Choice” (1.2/3, 2.88m) and NBC’s drama “Saving Hope” (0.7/2, 3.19m). Another pair of ABC second-year shows, “Secret Millionaire” (1.2/4, 5.04m) and “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” (1.2/3, 3.98m), have also performed sluggishly. And CW is getting nowhere with its new shows, “The Catalina” (0.2/1, 0.49m) and “Breaking Pointe” (0.2/1, 0.62m). Biggest series news on cable was the Thursday bow of Charlie Sheen’s FX comedy “Anger Management” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 5.47m), with its second of two back-to-back episodes rising to a 2.3/7 in the demo and 5.74 million. This made it the most-watched cable comedy premiere on record, and helped propel lead-out “Wilfred” (1.2/3, 2.53m) and “Louie” (0.7/2, 1.43m) to gains over their averages of last season. Overall, FX drew its largest audience on a Thursday in the net’s 18-year history (3.05 million). TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles” was on the rise (1.1/3, 5.43m), ranking as cable’s most-watched scripted program of the week. On Wednesday, though, net’s “Dallas” (1.1/3, 4.08m) dropped for a second straight week following its strong premiere. At HBO, “True Blood” held steady Sunday (2.6/7 in 18-49, 4.54m) while “Newsroom” dropped off some in its second outing (0.7/2, 1.68m). On the same night, Showtime’s “Weeds” kicked off its final season with 805,000 viewers and “Episodes” drew 486,000 — both down from last year.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more