Summer ratings cool off

Fox tops frustrating week for networks

The dog days of summer have hit the broadcast nets, with a few solid performers sprinkled throughout the week not enough to compensate for the numerous other hours where they’re putting up tiny numbers.

While cable was picking up steam last week, each of the major broadcast nets was down vs. the same frame a year ago — the first time that’s happened this summer.

Fox was kept out of the top spots in the program rankings, but its consistent delivery from night to night allowed it to win comfortably in the 18-49 demo. Net has now prevailed in 28 of the last 29 weeks, losing only to ABC during a June week bolstered by the NBA Finals.

According to Nielsen estimates that include “live plus same day” DVR playback, Fox captured the July 21-27 sesh among adults 18-49 with a 2.0 rating/6 share, followed by CBS and NBC (both at 1.6/5), ABC (1.4/5), Univision (1.3/4) and USA (0.9/3). The Alphabet was last among the Big Four even though its “Wipeout” was the frame’s top show in the demo (3.7 rating/12 share).

CBS moved up to a tie with Fox for the lead in adults 25-54 (2.1/6), and the Eye had it in total viewers (6.1 million to 5.5 million for Fox).

For Fox, “So You Think You Can Dance” set the pace, with its Wednesday performance show ranking fourth in 18-49 (3.0/9, 8.60m) and its Thursday results show placing fifth (2.8/9, 8.38m).

Net also had solid repeat showings for the likes of “House” (2.8/8, 7.90m) and “Family Guy” (2.5/7, 5.12m), and “America’s Most Wanted” nabbed top honors on Saturday (1.6/6, 4.76m) — one of five nights that Fox won in 18-49.

At CBS, “Big Brother” was up week to week, led by Wednesday’s edition (2.1/7, 6.22m), and “Flashpoint” had a winning debut in its new Thursday slot (1.7/5 in 18-49, 6.70m), where it was in line with its repeat “CSI” lead-in (1.6/5, 7.56m).

On Saturday, mixed-martial-arts show “Elite XC Saturday Night Fights,” promoted heavily during the network’s primetime entertainment programs, settled for a 1.0/4 in 18-49 and 2.57 million viewers overall.

NBC’s standout was “America’s Got Talent” (3.4/10 in 18-49, 13.24m), which ranked No. 2 for the week in 18-49 and No. 1 in total viewers, hitting a season high in the latter. In fact, “Talent” drew the largest overall audience for any series telecast on any network since ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” wrapped on May 22.

The Peacock doesn’t have a lot else going on, although nonscripted skeins “American Gladiators,” “Celebrity Family Feud” and “The Baby Borrowers” each delivered a decent 6 share.

ABC was dragged down by more weak numbers for “High School Musical: Get in the Picture” on both Monday (0.9/3, 3.13m) and Sunday (1.0/3, 3.05m), as well as Friday quizzer “Duel” (0.8/3, 3.12m).

On the positive side, 10 o’clock mags “Primetime: Family Secrets” (2.2/7, 6.72m) and “Primetime: Crime” (6.35m) stood as the week’s top two news programs in key demos. And news doc “Hopkins” continues to do pretty well with a small lead-in on Thursday (1.6/5, 5.32m).

Cable may have been kept out of the week’s top 20 program rankings in 18-49, but there were plenty of notable performers. USA once again led the cable nets in most categories thanks to its five firstrun hit dramas, while TNT was a solid No. 2.

Sunday at 10 p.m. was a hotbed of activity for the cable nets, led by the fourth-season finale of Food Network’s “The Next Food Network Star” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.51m), which set network records in numerous categories. In adults 25-54, it shot up by 27% vs. its third-season finale.

Also in the hour were original dramas “In Plain Sight” on USA (1.3/4, 4.17m), “Army Wives” on Lifetime (1.3/4, 3.64m) and “Mad Men” on AMC (0.8/2, 2.06m). “Mad Men” hit series highs and doubled the demo performance for its series preem a year ago (Daily Variety, July 29).

Cable highlights earlier in the week included USA’s “WWE Raw” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 4.73m from 9 to 11 p.m.) and TNT’s “The Closer” (1.6/5, 7.06m) on Monday, Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch” on Tuesday (1.8/5, 3.56m) and USA’s “Burn Notice” on Thursday (1.6/5, 4.76m).

Also of note was ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” (1.1/4, 3.09m), which established some network series records Tuesday (Daily Variety, July 24). Week to week, it shot up by 25% or more in key young-adult demos and posted a huge 7.8/28 in female teens.

Disney Channel’s concert spec “Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert in 3D” averaged 5.86 million viewers on Saturday, standing as the night’s most-watched program.

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