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Fox connects with All-Star Game, reality

Net wins week in demos; return of 'Brother' buoys CBS

Baseball’s All-Star Game and reality series vets “Hell’s Kitchen,” “MasterChef” and “So You Think You Can Dance” helped Fox belt its competition in key demos last week.

Also of note in the frame, CBS welcomed back “Big Brother” to solid numbers that were down a bit from last year. And Sunday saw strong showings by AMC’s returning “Breaking Bad” and A&E’s rookie “Longmire,” but USA stumbled with “Political Animals.”

The second week of July also included the first five days since Viacom’s networks went dark on satcaster DirecTV (and its roughly 20 million customers) amid a carriage renewal wrangle.

Nickelodeon — whose ratings had already taken a tumble this year — continued its descent with big drops, and its kids’ network competitors took advantage. In total-day viewing, Disney Channel drew its second largest weekly 2-11 audience ever (1.27 million), while Disney XD (270,000) and Discovery-Hasbro’s Hub (107,000) had their best-ever weeks in the demo. Among the big primetime Viacom nets, BET, Comedy Central and MTV all showed significant ratings declines vs. the same week a year ago.

Overall for the week of July 9-15, Fox led in adults 18-49 with a 1.7 rating/6 share, followed by Univision (1.4/4), ABC (1.3/4) and CBS and NBC (both at 1.1/4). Fox also ruled in adults 25-54 (1.9/6) while CBS cruised as usual in total viewers (5.45 million).

Tuesday’s coverage of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the week’s No. 1 program (3.2 rating/10 share in adults 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall), on par with last year.

Fox was also the top-rated net in 18-49 on Monday with “Hell’s Kitchen” (2.5/8, 6.01m) and “MasterChef” (2,5.7, 5.92m) and Wednesday with “So You Think You Can Dance” (2.0/6, 5.88m).

However, the net’s first-year dating show “The Choice” (1.2/4, 3.04m) ended its run on a low note Thursday.

At CBS, “Big Brother” kicked off its 14th edition down about 7% from last year’s strong start, both on Thursday (2.6/8 in 18-49, 7.18m) and Sunday (2.3/7, 6.21m).Net’s “The Big Bang Theory” continues its strong summer of repeats, as Thursday’s special 8:30 p.m. encore (2.8/9, 9.03m) tied NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” original on Tuesday (2.8/9, 10.69m) as the week’s top-rated series in 18-49. And reruns of “Big Bang” continue to power TBS, which was cable’s No. 1 network in adults 18-49 as the show accounted for four of basic cable’s five top-rated scripted telecasts in the demo last week.

NBC was led by “America’s Got Talent” on Tuesday (2.8/9, 10.69m), though it was low opposite the baseball all-star game, and ABC by “The Bachelorette” (2.5/7, 8.11m).

The Alphabet’s new Tuesday improv show “Trust Us With Your Life” opened meekly (1.1/3, 3.34m) — about as well as the net’s other new series this summer like “The Glass House” (1.0/3, 2.80m), “Final Witness” (1.1/3, 4.29m) and “Duets” (1.0/4, 4.73m).

Univision again led the 10 p.m. hour on weeknights with “La Que No Podia Amar” (The One Who Couldn’t Love), which peaked with Thursday’s seg (2.1/7, 5.16m). And at Telemundo, the premiere week of “Pablo Escobar: El Patron del Mal” (Pablo Escobar: The Drug Lord) averaged 2.1 million viewers — the net’s second strongest opening sesh yet for a novela.

ESPN’s annual All-star Game eve special “Home Run Derby” was the week’s top cable show (2.7/9, 6.88m).

Cable standouts on the series side included a record-setting season preem for AMC’s “Breaking Bad” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 2.93m) — up about 30% from a year ago. Not so hot in the same time period was the premiere of USA drama “Political Animals,” starring Sigourney Weaver (0.5/2, 2.62m).

Also in the crowded hour were Lifetime’s “Army Wives” (1.1/3, 3.49m), HBO’s “The Newsroom” (0.9/2, 1.94m) and A&E’s “Longmire” (0.8/2, 4.45m). The rookie A&E Western grew about 10% week to week for its largest overall audience yet.

TNT drew sizable overall crowds with a very older skew for its Monday dramas “The Closer” (1.0/3, 6.15m), kicking off its final season, and “Perception” (0.9/2, 5.60m), in its series preem; both gained some younger viewers in their second time together, on Monday of the current week.

The new music-themed talent program “Opening Act” from Nigel Lythgoe opened quietly for E! on Monday, averaging just 627,000 viewers — despite a healthy lead-in from “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” (2.59 million).

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