The Summer Olympics passed the baton to pro football last week, as preseason pigskin action topped the primetime ratings scoreboard. And as usually happens, the nets that aired it finished on top as well.
Football won all three nights it aired, including a pair of games on Fox as the net edged out NBC for the week’s lead among young adults. Fox also did pretty well on the entertainment series side, capturing the week’s first three nights behind reality skeins.
Numerous series saw ratings bounces in the first post-Olympics frame. And as the end of summer nears, it was also another frame full of premieres and finales, including a soft opener for NBC’s “Stars Earn Stripes” and CW’s new reality series but a strong series close for TNT’s “The Closer.”
Overall for the Aug. 13-19 sesh, according to Nielsen, Fox led in adults 18-49 with a 1.6 rating/5 share, slightly ahead of NBC (1.5/5), which was followed by Univision (1.3/4), CBS (1.1/4) and ABC (1.0/3).
NBC tied Fox for the week’s lead in adults 25-54 (1.9/5) and made it four straight weeks as the most-watched network overall after cruising the three prior weeks thanks to the London Games.
The Peacock’s telecast of the Sunday night preseason NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers averaged a 3.2/9 in adults 18-49 and 9.51 million viewers overall, making it the week’s No. 1 telecast in the demo.
Only program to draw more total viewers than football was NBC’s Tuesday edition of “America’s Got Talent” (2.8/8 in 18-49, 9.97m), which returned post-Olympics to about the same level as before it took its rest. “Talent” tied with HBO’s “True Blood” (2.8/8, 4.93m) as primetime’s highest-rated entertainment program in 18-49.
NBC’s “Stars Earn Stripes” underwhelmed on Monday (1.7/5, 5.24m) despite airing one day after the conclusion of the Olympics. The net fared a bit better on the night with the second-season preem of drama “Grimm” (2.0/5, 5.64m), which logged its second best score to date; the show will air regularly on Fridays, as it did last season.
At Fox, “Hotel Hell” (1.9/6, 5.12m) opened to OK numbers on Monday and then built the next night (2.1/7, 5.09m). The net also brought back cooking contests “Hell’s Kitchen” (2.7/7, 6.58m) and “MasterChef” to solid numbers with their first originals in three weeks.
CBS’ “Big Brother” posted improved ratings, with Sunday’s edition (2.4/7, 6.57m) logging the show’s best numbers on any night since late July.
ABC had another quiet week, led by “Wipeout” (1.6/6, 5.22m).
CW continues to struggle to launch shows, including two reality skeins last week.
Its Wednesday premiere of musical chairs competition “Oh Sit” did OK by the net’s low-bar summer standards (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.23m) but for the 8 o’clock hour, it merely ranked 13th among all networks in 18-49 and 11th in 18-34 (0.5/2). And one night later, TV’s latest music contest, “The Next,” didn’t even crack the top 20 in its 9 o’clock hour (0.3/1 in 18-49, 0.85m).
TNT’s “Closer” ended its long run Monday (1.6/4 in 18-49, 9.08m), as cable’s No. 1 entertainment series for the night in adults 25-54 (2.3/6) and standing easily the week’s top cable draw in total viewers. The net used the finale to lead into the premiere of spinoff “Major Crimes” (1.2/3, 7.18m), which retained about 75% of “Closer” in key demos.
At the other end of the week, TNT’s “Falling Skies” wrapped its second season on an uptick (1.4/4, 3.84m), but was down vs. last year.
On the same night, USA’s limited series “Political Animals” closed modestly (0.5/1, 2.34m) and doesn’t figure to return.