Reality, crime pay

Nonfiction, Thursday dramas boost Eye

A nice combo of firstrun reality fare and repeats of its scripted hits enabled the Eye to lash its rivals in last week’s primetime ratings race.

“Big Brother 6” and “Rock Star: INXS” were on the ratings upswing, and Thursday crime duo “CSI” and “Without a Trace” cleaned up for CBS, which won in adults 18-49 for a fourth straight frame. Net’s 2.5 rating/8 share easily topped the tightly bunched other nets, with Fox (2.1/7) followed by ABC (2.0/6) and NBC (1.9/6), according to Nielsen Media Research.

The Eye also led in adults 25-54 for an eighth straight week (3.0/8) and remained perfect in total viewers for the summer, averaging 7.8 million.

WB trails pack

It was an embarrassing week, meanwhile, for the WB, whose all-repeat lineup slipped to 10th place among adults 18-34 (0.7/2) — behind the other five broadcast nets as well as cablers TNT, USA, MTV and TBS. Net did well earlier this summer with “Beauty and the Geek” but has pretty much gone dark since then.

CBS dominated the program rankings, claiming six of the top 10 programs in 18-49, seven of 10 in adults 25-54 and eight of 10 in total viewers.

While “CSI” led the way as usual — standing as the week’s No. 1 program in adults 18-49 (4.1/12) and total viewers (13.03 million) — lead-out “Without a Trace” was right on its heels (4.0/12 in 18-49, 12.92m).

These marked summer bests for “Trace” and its best retention to date coming out of “CSI.” Many viewers likely missed the first airing of Thursday’s “Trace” repeat, which originally aired on a Wednesday in May and thus attracted fewer viewers than usual.

Also for CBS, “Big Brother 6” won all three of its hours, led by Tuesday’s 9 o’clock seg (3.4/9 in 18-49, 8.70m). Saturday’s seg hit summer highs (2.3/9, 5.85m), with a bonus eviction helping attract more viewers.

“Rock Star: INXS” drew its largest overall auds to date on both Tuesday (3.0/8 in 18-49, 6.49m) and Wednesday (2.2/7, 5.34m).

CBS also benefited from its first National Football League preseason game of the year, as the Minnesota Vikings-New York Jets clash delivered the net’s best Friday numbers of summer (1.8/7 in 18-49, 5.41m).

Fox rolls on

Fox, which led in adults 18-34 (2.1/7) for a 32nd straight week, was paced by improved numbers for Wednesday’s “So You Think You Can Dance” (3.5/10 in 18-49, 8.72m) and by repeat Sunday laffers “Family Guy” (2.9/8, 6.15m) and “The Simpsons” (2.6/8, 5.53m).

Also, Thursday’s New Orleans Saints-New England Patriots preseason NFL game significantly improved the net’s Thursday standing (2.6/8 in 18-49, 6.78m), but Tuesday’s “Teen Choice Awards” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 4.86m) plummeted 23% year-to-year in 18-49, placing fourth in its slot.

ABC got a nice boost from Monday’s rebroadcast of feature film “Remember the Titans” (2.8/8 in 18-49, 7.67m), but again was unable to muster much enthusiasm for Sunday unscripted skein “My Kind of Town” (2.2/6, 5.65m).

NBC got off to a solid start Tuesday with “Tommy Lee Goes to College” (Daily Variety, Aug. 18) and saw “Joey” hit a 10-week high on Thursday (2.1/7 in 18-49, 5.16m).

While the WB is struggling with repeats of its core sked, UPN is keeping the lights on with originals of “WWE Smackdown” on Thursday (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.57m) and music competition series “R U the Girl” on Wednesday (1.0/3, 2.48m).

TNT, led by Monday drama “The Closer” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 5.11m), edged past USA for the week in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers. Both “Closer” and USA’s “Monk” topped 5 million viewers with original episodes.

‘9/11’ doc delivers

The young National Geographic Channel topped 2 million viewers for the first time Sunday night with part one of doc “Inside 9/11” (2.12 million) and then hit 3 million Monday with the conclusion.

Discovery Channel scored Tuesday with its series “Dirty Jobs” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 1.83m) and “Going Tribal” (0.7/2, 1.45m), and Lifetime’s “Strong Medicine” (1.1/3, 3.27m) achieved 5 shares in key femme demos while drawing its largest overall aud since February 2003.

Disney Channel scored yet again with an original Friday movie, animated “The Proud Family Movie” (4.81 million, including 2.04 million kids 6-11). Pic helped the net post its highest-ever weekly primetime aud among the 6-11 crowd (1.22m).

HBO averaged 3.89 million viewers for the initial airing of the series finale of “Six Feet Under.”

Although it hasn’t generated significant audiences on any single night, Showtime has been pleased with the perf of “Weeds,” whose eight airings last week combined to attract 2 million unique viewers.

In the hour following primetime, Spike scored on Monday of the current week with the second season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” which averaged 2.1 million viewers and was up sharply in key male demos vs. last year’s opener.

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