The ratings bar is typically low for the week that includes the Fourth of July, but the broadcasters found a way to slide under it once again.
Although steady CBS avoided year-to-year declines, ABC, NBC and Fox each lost 18% or more of their young adult audience vs. the same frame a year ago. And collectively, the Big Four accounted for just 19% of the primetime viewing among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen.
If there was one bit of good news, it’s that the holiday fell on the weekend, and some of the stronger early-week series performed at roughly average levels as auds hadn’t yet made their holiday getaways.
Cable, which has been having a record-setting summer, also took a step back. Though up overall vs. last year, there weren’t as many fireworks as in recent weeks, with hot skeins like USA’s “Royal Pains” and HBO’s “True Blood” and “Hung” taking a breather during the holiday frame.
Overall, it was Fox (1.5 rating/5 share) that edged past CBS and NBC (both 1.4/5) for the week’s adults 18-49 lead. They were followed by Univision (1.3/5) and ABC (1.1/4), with the fifth-place Alphabet tumbling 27% year to year.
CBS won in adults 25-54 and total viewers — and it has yet to bow its reliable summer ratings grabber, “Big Brother.” The Eye continues to hold up well in the warm weather months because its key scripted shows — including “Two and a Half Men” and “The Mentalist” — are repeating well.
CBS was led by top 10 laffers “Two and a Half Men” (2.8/8 in 18-49, 9.29m) and “The Big Bang Theory” (2.6/7, 7.95m) — the week’s top scripted programs in 18-49. It then had a strong Tuesday behind encores of “NCIS” (2.0/7 in 18-49, 10.83m) and “The Mentalist” (1.9/6, 10.55m) and a Michael Jackson edition of “48 Hours Mystery” (2.0/6, 8.02m).
The Eye also claimed the most-watched program on Saturday with its annual “Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular” (6.78 million), up 14% vs. last year.
At Fox, the Wednesday performance episode of “So You Think You Can Dance” ranked second for the week among young adults (3.0/10 in 18-49, 7.73m), and Thursday’s results show edition also made the top 10 (2.3/8, 7.23m).
The net didn’t do much on Monday, though, with its two-hour repeat of the Michael Jackson songbook episode of “American Idol” (1.4/4, 4.15m).
NBC was boosted by Tuesday’s “America’s Got Talent” (3.7/11 in 18-49, 13.15m), which improved upon its season preem of the previous week and was easily the week’s No. 1 program in both demos and total viewers.
The Peacock’s news division also chipped in, as “Dateline” installments focused on Jackson won their timeslots in demos on both Monday (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.73m) and Friday (1.3.5, 5.13m).
ABC was led by Wednesday’s “Wipeout” (2.7/10 in 18-49, 8.00m) and Monday’s “The Bachelorette” (2.7/8, 7.94m) but was again dragged down by low-rated repeats of its serialized skeins like “Grey’s Anatomy” (0.6/2, 2.19m) and “Desperate Housewives” (0.6/2, 2.14m).
Cable’s top program of the week was USA’s 10 p.m. segment of “WWE Raw” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 6.24m), while TNT’s “The Closer” (1.3/4, 6.23m) was the most-watched scripted program.
Also of note, BET — coming off a record-setting BET Awards kudocast two days earlier — drew 3.11 million viewers on Tuesday for the preem of reality series “Tiny & Toya,” the top cable show of the night in 18-49 (1.4/4) and most key female demos.
And Oxygen’s “Dance Your Ass Off” got off to a solid start on Monday, averaging 1.3 million viewers — the best ever for a bow on the net.