‘Dance’ tops modest Thursday

Fox reality series premieres to 8.7 million viewers

A day after Fox brought powerhouse “American Idol” to a conclusion, the network premiered reality skein “So You Think You Can Dance” to win a very weak Thursday dominated by repeats. With May sweeps over, audiences only had two original scripted shows to choose from the entire night: NBC’s “Southland” and ABC’s “Ugly Betty.”

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, a two-hour “So You Think You Can Dance” (3.4 rating/11 share in the 18-49 demo, 8.7 million viewers and similar to last year’s premiere episode) dominated between 8 and 10 p.m. Fox was happy with the status quo as overall viewing was down 10% from the same night a year ago, meaning the share went up slightly.

ESPN could’ve easily contributed to the low viewer turnout as the sports cabler telecast the NBA playoff game between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers at the 9 p.m. ET.

The two-hour season finale of “Ugly Betty” (1.9/6, 6.2m), which many thought would be canceled but is returning to the Alphabet lineup in the fall, was slightly off last week’s rating and down 21% from the year’s average.

“Southland” (2.0/6, 6.3m) won the 10 p.m. hour but against repeats of “Flashpoint” (1.8/5, 7.4m) and “Grey’s Anatomy” (1.1/3, 3.6m). The L.A. cop drama, after launching in early April, has seen its ratings consistently drop in the timeslot and moves to 9 p.m. Fridays in the fall where it will compete against “Ugly Betty” and CBS’ “Medium.”

Eye drama stalwart “CSI” (1.9/6) drew 9.6 million viewers, the most-watched show Thursday.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 3.4/11; CBS, 1.7/5; ABC, 1.6/5; NBC, 1.5/5; Univision, 1.5/5; CW, 0.5/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 8.7 million; CBS, 8.1 million; ABC, 5.3 million; NBC, 4.2 million; Univision, 3.6 million, CW, 1.3 million.