Score one for Spandex: NBC’s “American Gladiators” redux opened to strong numbers Sunday night, winning its slot among young adults.
Night also saw CBS, boosted by a hefty football overrun, generate good numbers for its “60 Minutes” interview with Roger Clemens, but ABC’s special preview of new drama “Cashmere Mafia” wasn’t much in fashion with auds.
According to preliminary Nielsen nationals, “American Gladiators” averaged a 5.9 rating/14 share in adults 18-49 and 12 million viewers overall, winning its 9-11 p.m. slot in key demos and becoming the highest-rated series preem of the season on any net in 18-49.
It’s also the best non-sports result in the time period for NBC in three years (since the 2005 “Golden Globe Awards”).
In a good sign for the Peacock, “Gladiators” grew from its first half-hour (5.5 rating in the 18-49 demo) to its final half-hour (6.1). And while it was especially strong among men (6.9 rating in 18-49); it also did a 4.9 among women.
Show skewed young, as expected, generating a 17 share in adults 18-34.
“I felt it would do well, but I didn’t think we would have the No. 1 premiere of the year,” said NBC Entertainment/Universal Media Studios co-chairman Ben Silverman. “We tapped into what’s working in reality, in the extreme sports world, in wrestling, and tapped into a nostalgia factor too. We delivered a show where the action was a real but fun competition, and family-friendly.”
“Gladiators” did so well that the Peacock was looking to run another two-hour Sunday night special this week in the event that the Golden Globes were canceled or downsized.
Meanwhile, show preem repped a victory for producer Reveille; “Gladiators” was the shingle’s first big production following the departure of founder Silverman to NBC.
“Gladiators,” hosted by Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali, shifted to its regular Monday slot last night, taking over for “Chuck,” which has aired all of its original segs.
Elsewhere Sunday, the conclusion of the San Diego-Tennessee NFL playoff game garnered huge numbers for CBS to kick off primetime. The highest-rated of the weekend’s four wild-card contests (18.6 household rating/32 share in the overnights), it peaked from 7 to 7:30 (21.9/35).
That led into “60 Minutes,” which should come in with about a 5.4 rating in 18-49 and nearly 20 million viewers. Installment included Mike Wallace’s interview with baseball great Clemens, who has been accused of taking steroids to improve his performance.
Over at ABC, “Cashmere Mafia” garnered a 3.8 rating/9 share in 18-49 and 10.7 million viewers overall for its preview in the 10 o’clock hour, retaining a little more than half its demo lead-in from an original episode of slot-leading “Desperate Housewives” at 9 (prelim 7.2/16, 19.8 million).
“Mafia,” which will regularly air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. beginning this week, won its time period among women 18-49, but was beaten out among women 18-34 by “Gladiators.”
(Michael Schneider contributed to this report.)