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An All-Star fade-out

Smallest aud in 35 years for b'ball classic

Though baseball has tried upping the stakes for its All-Star Game, ratings continue to decline, with Tuesday’s contest on Fox drawing the smallest aud in at least 35 years.

Although it won every half-hour from 8:30 to 11 and gave Fox its highest-rated telecast of summer, the All-Star Game settled for a 4.3 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 12.33 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen, peaking in the 9:30 half-hour ET.

This is a dropoff of more than 1.5 million viewers from last year and makes it the smallest audience for the “Midsummer Classic” since at least 1970. The 18-49 dropoff was a similar 14% (4.3/13 vs. 5.0/15).

Game, which now rewards the winning league with home-field advantage for the World Series, remains the most popular such contest among the major sports. The NBA All-Star Game averaged 8.08 million viewers on TNT in February, and the NFL’s Pro Bowl drew 6.16 million one week earlier on ESPN.

Both the basketball and football all-star contests had aired on network television until a couple of years ago, but dwindling ratings necessitated a switch to cable.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, CBS reality entry “Rock Star” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 6.14 million viewers overall) improved upon its soft premiere-night numbers, taking advantage of a strong lead-in from “Big Brother 6” (3.4/10, 8.34m). The 10 o’clock slot could prove to be best suited for “Rock Star,” as young-adult viewing peaks during that time in the summer months.

NBC’s “Average Joe” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 4.81m) and “I Want to Be a Hilton” (2.0/6, 4.51m) continue to struggle mightily, as does ABC’s limited-run series “Empire” (1.7/4, 4.67m).

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