The “Friends” era is over at NBC, and CBS is smelling blood on Thursday night.
Combo of “Big Brother” and repeats of crime dramas “CSI” and “Without a Trace” helped the Eye web dominate Thursday’s action last week — winning every half-hour in adults 18-49 and 25-54 — en route to its second consecutive weekly victory in these key demos.
CBS averaged a 2.6 rating in adults 18-49 for the July 12-18 frame (each ratings point reps roughly 1.29 million viewers, according to Nielsen), followed closely by Fox (2.5) and NBC (2.4), with ABC in fourth (2.0).
Eye, up across the board compared with the same week a year ago, had more breathing room in adults 25-54 (with its 3.2 rating besting NBC’s 2.7) and was easily the most-watched network overall with 9 million viewers.
Fox’s ascent to second in 18-49 came thanks to baseball’s All-Star Game (week’s No. 1 program with a 5.0 rating/15 share in adults 18-49 and 14 million viewers overall), but the net remains in fourth place at the summer’s halfway point despite its increased output of original series.
For CBS, key to victory last week were another standout showing by Tuesday’s “The Amazing Race 5” (4.3/12 in 18-49, 10.50m), as well as an easy triumph on Thursday over NBC in 18-49 (3.9/13 vs. 2.6/8), 25-54 and total viewers. “CSI” was the week’s top scripted show (4.7/14 in 18-49, 13.95m), while “Without a Trace” led at 10 (3.8/12, 12.31m) and “Big Brother 5” won at 8 (3.3/12, 8.76m).
Through seven weeks of the summer season, CBS is winning Thursdays in all key measures and is roughly on par with its year-ago Thursday perf; NBC is down 25% or more across the board on the night.
Lame-duck laffer “Friends” has repeated weaker this summer and the net has dropped it from the sked, opting for a two-hour block of “Will & Grace” last week that settled for distant second-place finishes.
Looking to fortify its summer Thursday sked, NBC will take a page out of Fox’s “American Idol” playbook and air a 30-minute “Last Comic Standing” results show on the night beginning next week in addition to the hit skein’s regular Tuesday seg.
And, of course, the return of “The Apprentice” is expected to keep NBC in a strong Thursday position during the regular season that begins in September.
Dose of reality
Elsewhere last week for the Peacock, Monday’s all-reality lineup continues to perform pretty well, with “For Love or Money” and “Who Wants to Marry My Dad?” (both 3.1/8 in 18-49) placing second to CBS repeats. And Tuesday’s “Last Comic Standing” (3.6/10 in 18-49, 7.61m) placed second to baseball in 18-49.
Net isn’t generating a lot of interest for its Olympic Trials events, with Sunday’s two-hour track and field showcase running fourth in demos (1.7/5 in 18-49, 5.41m).
Over at Fox, Wednesday unscripted laffer “The Simple Life 2” is generating strong numbers, placing fifth for the week in 18-49 (4.5/14) and first among persons 12-34 (5.3/18). Net won the night in younger demos and took the week in under-35 categories.
ABC ran fourth but was up vs. the same week a year ago thanks to a fresh episode of Sunday hit “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” — the No. 2 show of the week in 18-49 (4.7/13). It also helped lead-out drama “The Days” (3.0/8) get off to a fairly good start (Daily Variety, July 20).
On Friday, Barbara Walters’ interview with Martha Stewart won the 10 o’clock hour (2.2/7 in 18-49, 8.02m) and was the week’s No. 1 newsmag in 25-54 (2.7/8) — this despite a quick turnaround by the news division and virtually no promotion following Stewart’s sentencing just hours earlier.
The WB topped a struggling UPN in 18-34 for the week (1.1/4 vs. 0.9/3), with the Frog’s Tuesday drama “Summerland” achieving highs in both adults 18-34 (2.0/6) and femmes 12-34 (3.6/10).
And among ad-supported cablers, TNT led in demos with several plays of “Ocean’s Eleven,” while USA remained solid with original dramas “The 4400,” “Monk” and “Dead Zone.”
ESPN’s “Home Run Derby,” a Monday exhibition contest prior to baseball’s All-Star Game, drew 7.71 viewers and ranked 14th among all shows for the week in 18-49 (3.3/10).