‘Deal’ seals Peacock win

NBC improves 'Standing'

It was a competitive — albeit low-rated — first week of summer for the broadcast nets, with even NBC entering the mix with a rare demo victory.

Powered by unscripted skeins “Deal or No Deal” and “Last Comic Standing,” the Peacock prevailed in adults 18-49 to end Fox’s 15-week winning streak. NBC was also the last net to beat Fox, taking three frames in February courtesy of the Winter Olympics, but otherwise hadn’t won a week in the demo since last summer.

According to Nielsen estimates for the May 29-June 4 sesh, NBC’s 2.4 rating edged out CBS and Fox (both at 2.3), with ABC not far behind (2.1). The Eye had it in adults 25-54 (3.0/8) and total viewers (8.7 million), and Fox led in 18-34 (2.3/8).

The six broadcast nets combined for a mere 32 share of the 18-49 aud (down from 34 a year ago), as cable picked up steam with the NBA Playoffs, some series and season preems and the season finale of HBO’s “The Sopranos.”

Fox claimed the week’s top program in 18-49 with Thursday’s “So You Think You Can Dance” (4.4/12), with Monday’s “Deal or No Deal” (4.1/13) tied with “Sopranos” for second. “Deal,” which closed its season strong on Monday of the current week (see below), was also the frame’s most-watched program overall, averaging 13.84 million viewers.

“Last Comic Standing” had a solid two-hour premiere on Tuesday (3.7/11 in 18-49, 8.59m) as the reality skein was back for the first time since October 2004 and won its slot in key demos. A repeat on Friday also did OK (1.8/6, 4.53m) — at least by that night’s lower standards.

At Fox, “So You Think You Can Dance” won its regular hours in 18-49 and younger demos on both Thursday and Wednesday (3.5/10, 10.25m). Net didn’t have a whole lot else happening until Sunday, when “The Simpsons” (2.8/9 in 18-49, 5.70m) and “Family Guy” (2.7/7, 5.30m) popped decent repeat numbers.

CBS, led as usual by “CSI” (3.9/11 in 18-49, 13.57m for a repeat), claimed the week’s nine most-watched dramas — a list that included the “CSI” siblings as well as “Without a Trace,” “NCIS” and “The Unit.” Also contributing was a special Tuesday seg of “48 Hours Mystery” (3.0/8, 9.67m).

Eye saw a modest start for “Gameshow Marathon,” which bowed in its regular Thursday slot with a 2.3/7 in 18-49 and 8.33 million viewers overall.

ABC was paced by Monday’s NBA Playoff action between the Miami Heat and Detroit Pistons (3.2/9 in 18-49, 8.19m) and by a repeat of Sunday’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.8/8, 7.04m).

On Thursday, the “Scripps National Spelling Bee” did OK in its network bow (2.5/7, 8.53m), peaking with 14.1 million viewers in its final 10 minutes.

At HBO, Sunday’s season finale of “The Sopranos” (4.1/12 in 18-49, 8.91m) was slightly above its spring average but behind the season-enders for previous years. “Big Love” wrapped its initial season on the same night with an average of about 4.6 million viewers.

TNT led the ad-supported cablers for the week, paced by three games of the Dallas-Phoenix series in the NBA’s Western Conference Finals. ESPN ran second with two games of the Eastern Finals, paced by Wednesday’s Game 5 (2.7/8 in 18-49, 6.60m).

Elsewhere, FX’s “Rescue Me” launched its season with solid numbers (1.6/4 in 18-49, 3.21m), Comedy Central drew a big crowd Sunday for the premiere of original movie “Blue Collar Comedy Tour 3” (5.31 million), and “The Simple Life” drew 1.35 million for its season bow on E! — the largest aud for a series on the net this year.

In series premieres, MTV’s “The Hills” impressed with 2.93 million (and a 2.3/7 in adults 18-34), but ABC Family’s “Falcon Beach” settled for 1.14 million.

* * *

On Monday of the current week, a 90-minute seg of NBC’s “Deal or No Deal” (5.6/17 in 18-49, 18.24m) dominated its mostly repeat competish. This reps the show’s second best demo delivery to date and stands as its most watched telecast overall. That helped boost “The Apprentice 5” to season highs for its finale (4.4/12, 11.25m) although this made it the series’ lowest-rated conclusion.

The two-hour series finale of the WB’s “Everwood” averaged a 1.5/4 in 18-49 and 4.14 million viewers overall, building to a third-place finish in 18-34. From 9 to 10 (its regular hour), show’s 4.4 million viewers repped a 26% gain over its prior season average (3.5 million).

On ABC, “The Alma Awards” (1.6/4, 4.20m) didn’t do much, but it roughly doubled what the show delivered the last time it aired on the net in 2002. Show, which honors Latino artistic achievement in film, TV and other media, may have gotten a lift from host Eva Longoria of “Desperate Housewives.”

On Lifetime, premiere of improv comedy “Lovespring International” at 11 drew about 1 million viewers — a slight improvement in the ratings for previous timeslot occupant “Will & Grace.” Lead-in, the movie “Stranded,” drew 2.4 million.

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