Alphabet dances to rare demo win

'Dancing,' NBA lift net; TNT tops UPN, WB

Fancy footwork in the ballroom and on the basketball court lifted ABC last week to a rare primetime ratings victory in young adults.

The Alphabet net won in the key demo of adults 18-49 for the first time since early January, topping four nights thanks to hit series “Dancing With the Stars,” two games of the NBA Finals and a special “Primetime Live” interview with Brad Pitt.

According to Nielsen, the week of June 6 also was a good one for cabler TNT, which moved comfortably ahead of UPN and the WB into fifth place in key demos (see separate story) thanks to Game 7 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals and three nights of oater “Into the West.”

Fox has emerged as the growth story of early summer, up 15% year-to-year in 18-49 thanks to its “Family Guy”-led Sunday lineup and rising unscripted skein “Hell’s Kitchen.”

Overall, ABC logged a 2.5 rating/8 share in adults 18-49, followed closely by CBS and Fox (2.3/7 each), with fourth-place NBC not too far behind (2.1/7). TNT logged a 1.3/5, UPN a 1.1/3 and the WB a 0.9/3.

The Alphabet also scored a narrow victory over CBS in adults 25-54 (2.9/8 vs. 2.8/8), while the Eye won easily as usual in total viewers (7.94 million). Among the younger 12-34 crowd, Fox ruled for a 13th straight week (2.2/8).

Up in ratings vs. its week-earlier preem, ABC’s hot “Dancing With the Stars” was the frame’s No. 1 program in adults 18-49 (4.8/14) and total viewers (15.09 million) — the first time the net has topped the summer demo rankings with a series since “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” in August 2000.

Not too far behind in 18-49 — although down sharply from last year’s numbers — were the opening two games of the NBA Finals on Sunday (4.5/13 in 18-49, 10.66 million viewers overall) and Thursday (4.4/14, 10.57m).

The Alphabet also scored with Diane Sawyer’s chat with Pitt on a special Tuesday “Primetime Live” (4.2/12 in 18-49, 11.19m), the top-rated summer newsmag in both 18-49 and 25-54 (5.1/13) since July 2003.

Not so good was the net’s premiere of Monday unscripted series “The Scholar” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.79m).

Over at Fox, an original episode of “Family Guy” led the way (4.1/11 in 18-49, 8.21m), impressively winning its 9 o’clock Sunday slot in 18-49 and younger male demos despite facing the NBA Finals. Net also was solid on the night with a repeat “The Simpsons” at 8:30 (3.8/11 in 18-49) and held up pretty well at 9:30 with an original “American Dad” (3.3/8).

Something’s cooking

Among other firstrun fare, Wednesday cop drama “The Inside” bowed quietly (2.0/6 in 18-49, 4.79m), but Monday reality show “Hell’s Kitchen” heated up (3.5/9, 6.98m). Latter rose again on Monday of the current week (3.8/10, 7.54m) and has been particularly strong in younger demos such as adults 18-34 and persons 12-34, where it has outperformed ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

CBS was paced by a 90-minute repeat of “CSI” on Thursday (4.0/11 in 18-49, 12.65m) but struck out earlier on the night with the 90-minute bow of fashion reality skein “The Cut” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 6.59m), which produced the lowest firstrun score in the Thursday-at-8 hour for the Eye since “Diagnosis Murder” in January 2001.

Net looked good on Tuesday, with a nice preem for hidden-camera series “Fire Me, Please” (3.3/10 in 18-49, 8.28m), and on Monday, where all five episodes of its “Two and a Half Men” marathon ranked among the week’s top 25 programs in 18-49.

NBC had a quiet week, led by week two of “Hit Me Baby One More Time” on Thursday (3.7/11 in 18-49, 7.32m), which was down 20% from its premiere. Its only other standout was Friday’s slot-leading two-hour “Dateline” (2.6/10 in 18-49, 8.09m).

UPN edged past the WB in most categories during the week, with the former paced by Thursday’s “WWE Smackdown” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 5.40m).

The Frog looked good Wednesday with the second episode of unscripted series “Beauty and Geek” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 3.75m), which was up week-to-week in most categories.

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