the whispers abc
Courtesy of Kelsey McNeal/ABC

ABC drama “The Whispers” opened with promising numbers on Monday, a night that also saw nice week-to-week bumps for a pair of reality series, NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” and ABC’s “The Bachelorette.”

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “The Whispers” averaged a 1.5 rating/5 share in adults 18-49 and 5.7 million viewers overall in the 10 p.m. hour — putting it a tick behind last season’s top scripted premieres in the demo, NBC’s “The Night Shift” and CBS’ “Extant,” and becoming the network’s highest-rated summer scripted premiere since “Rookie Blue” in 2010. It was also a nice 36% spike (0.4) over the premiere score for returning drama “The Mistresses” in the timeslot a year ago, and the strong finish to the night helped ABC edge past NBC for Monday’s 18-49 lead.

The spooky drama about kids who communicate with “friends” that no one else can see, held up well in its second half-hour, dipping only a tenth in all key demos. “Whispers” figures to benefit from promotion during ABC’s telecast of the NBA Finals, which begins Thursday, and will also get a Saturday night repeat on the net.

Leading into “The Whispers” was “The Bachelorette” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall), which shot up 19% (0.3) from last week and may have been boosted by pre-“Whispers” tune-in. It was the night’s No. 2 show in 18-49, and No. 1 in all female demos.

The only Monday series to fare better in 18-49 was NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” (2.0/7 in 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall), which was up 10% (0.2) and edged out the dating show as the No. 1 program for the night in not only 18-49 but also 25-54 and total viewers; this was the largest-ever audience for “Ninja.” And capping the night for the Peacock was the second week of Bear Grylls reality show “The Island” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall), which matched last week’s premiere score.

Elsewhere, opposite brutal reality competition from “American Ninja Warrior” and “The Bachelorette,” Fox’s season premiere of “So You Think You Can Dance” was overmatched on its new night (1.2/4 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall). It was down 25% (0.4) from last summer’s premiere on a Wednesday.

CBS aired repeats of in-season Monday regulars “2 Broke Girls” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall), “Mike & Molly” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall), “Scorpion” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall) and “NCIS: Los Angeles” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall). And CW went with encores of “The Originals” (0.2/1 in 18-49, 0.6 million viewers overall) and “Jane the Virgin” (0.2/1 in 18-49, 0.6 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 1.8/6; NBC, 1.7/6; Fox, 1.2/4; CBS, 1.0/3; CW, 0.2/1.

In total viewers: ABC, 6.2 million; CBS, 6.1 million; NBC, 5.8 million; Fox, 3.9 million; CW, 0.6 million.

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