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‘Fame’ starts hot for NBC

Summer originals push Peacock; '48 Hours' boosts CBS

HOLLYWOOD — Familiar favorites topped the ratings for the first full week of television’s summer season, as the nets slowly began introducing original fare.

NBC’s talent show “Fame” got off to a promising start on Wednesday, while a trio of unscripted series — NBC’s “Dog Eat Dog” and “Crime & Punishment” and CBS’ “Amazing Race” — all delivered solid perfs in their return to the sked.

It was repeats of Thursday vets “CSI” and “Will & Grace” that scored the week’s top scores in adults 18-49, though, as they tied with a 5.1 rating, according to Nielsen. “CSI” was also the No. 1 show in adults 25-54 (5.8/15) and total viewers (13.35 million).

The Peacock net prevailed in adults 18-49 (3.1/10), with Fox and CBS tied for second (2.7/8). It was a far cry from a year ago, though, when the final three games of the NBA’s Western Conference Finals (Lakers-Kings) powered NBC to a 4.6/14 and the most lopsided victory of summer for any net.

CBS most watched

CBS, boosted by Wednesday newsmag “48 Hours Investigates” (week’s No. 2 program in total viewers with 12.18 million), was the most-watched net overall.

TNT led on the cable side, moving up to sixth overall — ahead of broadcast sibling the WB — in both adults 18-49 (1.1 national rating) and total viewers (2.86 million). It’s the seventh straight week that TNT, boosted by the NBA playoffs for a final time this spring, has been on top in 18-49.

F/X’s original movie “44 Minutes” (2.6/7 in adults 18-49, 6.10 million viewers overall) was the week’s top program on ad-supported cable.

For NBC, “Fame” opened impressively (Daily Variety, May 30), winning the 8-10 p.m. slot in adults 18-49 (4.5/13) with the net’s best score since December. And on Tuesday, two hours of “Dog Eat Dog” averaged a 3.6/11 in 18-49 and gave NBC its first Tuesday win in the demo since December.

‘Frasier’ strong

“Frasier,” airing on Thursdays for the start of summer, has posted its best scores since February with its post-“Will & Grace” repeats the past two weeks. Last week, its 4.6/13 placed it in the top 10.

CBS won three nights in adults 18-49 (Monday, Thursday and Sunday) for the first time since November, but was well behind the pack on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.

The 90-minute premiere of “Amazing Race 4” (3.7/12 in A18-49, 9.94m) placed second to NBC repeat comedies and was on par with the start of the show’s third edition last fall.

CBS also did well Wednesday with “48 Hours Investigates” — the week’s No. 1 newsmag in adults 18-49 (3.6/10) and 25-54 (4.6/12) — and got a nice finishing kick from Sunday movie “A Time to Kill,” which led its 8-11 slot (3.5/10 in A18-49, 11.00m).

Fox was up sharply year-to-year even with little original programming, boosted by a dominant Saturday victory in 18-49 with its reality staples “Cops” and “America’s Most Wanted.”

Viewers catch ‘Stupid’

“Stupid Behavior Caught on Tape” opened to decent numbers Thursday at 8, placing third in adults 18-49 (2.3/8) and second in adults 18-34 (3.0/12).

Net also swept the week’s top 10 programs in teens.

ABC, fourth across the board for the week, won Friday with its best summer numbers on the night since September 2001 behind a two-hour “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (3.2/12 in A18-49) and “20/20” (3.0/10), which featured a report on parents who spy on their kids.

Auds are skipping repeats of “Alias” on Sunday, as this week’s seg slipped to a 3 share in 18-49.

‘Model’ shows off

UPN, which moved up to fifth in adults 18-34 for the first time since December, is doing pretty well with Tuesday’s “America’s Next Top Model,” which was up 19% week-to-week in women 18-34 (to 3.1/8). And the net’s original “WWE Smackdown” won Thursday in males 12-34 (3.1/11).

There wasn’t much to shout about at the WB, which will look for a ratings bounce from surfing show “Boarding House: North Shore,” which begins in two weeks.

“NBC Nightly News” was No. 1 in all categories for the week ending May 20, one week after ABC’s “World News Tonight” had pulled into a tie among adults 25-54.

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