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NFL, Hot Reality Shows Keep NBC On Top of Weekly Ratings

The return of football combined with two nights of “America’s Got Talent” and a season high for “American Ninja Warrior” to put NBC atop the demo rankings last week as the net continued its hot summer.

The Peacock, which also saw solid scores for recent reality additions “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” and “Food Fighters,” has finished on top in adults 18-49 (either outright or tied) in eight of 11 weeks this summer. It’s only finished lower during the two weeks of the NBA Finals on ABC and the frame including the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on Fox.

Univision, coming off its second straight first-place 18-49 finish in a July sweep, was a close second among young adults for the week and joined ABC as the only broadcaster to improve upon the comparable week of a year ago.

Overall, according to same-night Nielsen estimates for the week of July 28-Aug. 3, NBC led in adults 18-49 with a 1.4 rating/5 share, and was followed by Univision (1.3/5), ABC (1.1/4), CBS (1.0/4) and Fox (0.8/3). NBC also won in adults 25-54 as well as total viewers, winning in the latter category for the first time since the Sochi Games in February.

In cable, a different network held the week’s top spot in adults 18-49 (TBS), adults 25-54 (USA), adults 18-34 (Adult Swim) and total viewers (TNT).  The total-viewers race was razor thin, with TNT (2.099 million) edging past Disney Channel (2.097 million) and USA (2.093 million) to finish as the most popular cabler overall in primetime for a sixth straight week.

For NBC, “America’s Got Talent” led the way among series, with both its performance show on Tuesday (2.4/8 in 18-49, 10.64 million viewers overall) and results show on Wednesday (2.2/7 in 18-49, 10.79 million viewers overall) among the week’s top 5 shows in 18-49. Wednesday’s hour was also No. 1 for the week in total viewers.

Sunday’s NFL Hall of Fame Game between the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills (2.8/10 in 18-49, 8.53 million viewers overall) was down more than 20% from last year’s opener, though that contest featured the popular Dallas Cowboys. Still, it was the week’s No. 1 program in 18-49.

NBC won Monday behind the premiere of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 4.43 million viewers overall), the No. 2-rated reality premiere of the summer, and “American Ninja Warrior” (pictured, 2.0/6 in 18-49, 5.73 million viewers overall) logged its top 18-49 score since the show’s season finale two summers ago.

Also pitching in were Tuesday’s “Food Fighters” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 4.72 million viewers overall), which spiked 30% (0.3) from its premiere, and Wednesday drama “Taxi Brooklyn” (1.0/4 in 18-49, 5.25 million viewers overall), which matched its series high.

ABC was paced by the season finale of “The Bachelorette” (2.0/7 in 18-49, 8.00 million viewers overall) and the post-show “The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 8.15 million viewers overall). Though the conclusion of the show gave the net its best Monday of the summer, the night was down 19% in 18-49 from last year (2.6).

Thursday saw a quiet premiere for reality series “The Quest” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.82 million viewers overall), but the dramas behind didn’t seem affected: “Rookie Blue” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 4.79 million viewers overall) posted the show’s highest demo rating since its season premiere, and “NY Med” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 5.62 million viewers overall) matched its best scores to date.

On Sunday, “Rising Star” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.73 million viewers overall) was steady week to week.

CBS was led as usual by its three nights of “Big Brother,” with Wednesday’s installment (2.3/9 in 18-49, 6.29 million viewers overall) ranking third for the week in 18-49 and matching its best score on the night this summer.

Firstrun dramas “Under the Dome” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 6.57 million viewers overall) and “Extant” (1.1/4, 5.92m) held steady in 18-49, with the former the week’s No. 1 scripted series. Sunday’s “Unforgettable” slipped (0.8/3 in 18-49, 5.67 million viewers overall) but “Reckless” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 4.29 million viewers overall) held steady in the demo while hitting a series high in total viewers for a second straight week.

Fox’s only competitive night was Monday with “MasterChef” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 5.76 million viewers overall), which matched its summer high, and “Hotel Hell” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 4.06m), whose second episode was up a tick from its premiere.

On Thursday, firstrun drama “Gang Related” held steady (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.27 million viewers overall) even though it had a repeat lead-in for the first time.

In cable, Syfy scored big on Wednesday with original movie “Sharknado 2: The Other One” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.87 million viewers overall), which was the night’s No. 1 cable program and stood as the network’s most-watched telepic on record. It nearly tripled the premiere telecast of the original “Sharknado” last summer.

TNT remains the summer scripted leader, last week claiming two of the week’s top four basic cable scripted series in 18-49 in “The Last Ship” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 4.15 million viewers overall) and “Major Crimes” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 5.85 million viewers overall), the latter of which hit a season high in the demo. “Last Ship” was also the week’s No. 1 cable original in adults 25-54 (1.4/4).

The only original to fare better than “Last Ship” in 18-49 was FX’s “The Strain” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.27 million viewers overall), which matched its high in 18-49. The net is struggling though with its  new Thursday comedy hour of “Married” (0.23 rating in 18-49, 538,000 viewers overall) and “You’re the Worst” (0.18 in 18-49, 3.93 million viewers overall), both of which took a tumble for a second straight week since their premieres.

At USA, “Suits” hit a season high (0.90 rating in 18-49, 2.81 million viewers overall), and “Satisfaction” (0.44 in 18-49, 1.47 million viewers overall) continues to look like the stronger of the net’s two new dramas. It built a bit in the demo on “Rush” (0.41 in 18-49, 1.79 million viewers overall)

At Lifetime, “Project Runway” (0.60 rating in 18-49, 1.92 million viewers overall) jumped 15% in its second week. Not so hot is recent Sunday addition “The Lottery” (0.26 rating, 823,000), though it was actually up week-to-week.

OWN’s top series, “The Haves and the Have Nots” ended its season strong (1.0/4 in 18-49, 3.49 million viewers overall), hitting summer highs.

AMC’s “Hell on Wheels” returned to solid numbers (especially for a Saturday): 0.47 in 18-49, 0.70 in 25-54 and 2.43 million viewers overall. One night later, the net’s “Halt & Catch Fire” ended its season quietly (574,000 viewers).

In addition to scripted skeins “The Strain” and “The Last Ship,” cable standouts on Sunday included a handful of reality series, led by E!’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.37 million viewers overall) — TV’s No. 1 show of the night (broadcast and cable) in women 18-34 (1.9/7).

Discovery’s “Naked and Afraid” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.43 million viewers overall) shot up 22% week to week, and was basic cable’s No. 3 show of the night in men 18-49 (1.1/4).

And at Food Network, vet “Food Network Star” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.28 million viewers overall) stood as basic cable’s No. 3 show of the night in women 25-54 (1.2/4), rising 13% vs. the comparable episode a year ago.

At Showtime, “Ray Donovan” hit a season high (1.45 million) but “Masters of Sex” (706,000) held less than half that audience to hit a low.

WEEKLY NETWORK PRIMETIME AVERAGES
(Live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49 (rating/share)
NBC 1.4/5
UNI 1.3/5
ABC  1.1/4
CBS  1.0/4
Fox  0.8/3
TBS  0.7/2
USA  0.7/2
ADSM 0.6/2
TEL  0.5/2
SYFY  0.5/2

Total Viewers
NBC                5.41 million
CBS                 5.30 million
ABC                4.49 million
UNI                3.22 million
Fox                 2.28 million
TNT               2.10 million
DISN             2.10 million
USA               2.09 million
Fox News     1.83 million
History         1.81 million

WEEK’S TOP PRIMETIME PROGRAMS
(Live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
1.  NFL Hall of Fame Game: N.Y. Giants-Buffalo (NBC), 2.8/10
2.  America’s Got Talent-Tuesday (NBC), 2.4/8
3.  Big Brother-Wednesday (CBS), 2.3/9
4.  America’s Got Talent-Wednesday (NBC), 2.2/7
5.  Big Brother-Thursday (CBS), 2.2/7
6.  The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose (ABC), 2.1/7
6.  MasterChef (Fox), 2.1/7
8.  The Bachelorette finale (ABC), 2.0/7
8.  Big Brother-Sunday (CBS), 2.0/7
10.  American Ninja Warrior (NBC), 2.0/6
11.  Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta (VH1), 1.8/6
12.  True Bloods (HBO)*, 1.7/5
13.  The Big Bang Theory-r (CBS), 1.6/7
13.  Hotel Hell (Fox), 1.6/5
13.  Under the Dome (CBS), 1.5/5
16.  Running Wild With Bear Grylls (NBC), 1.4/5
16.  WWE Raw (USA), 1.4/5
18.  Food Fighters (NBC), 1.3/5
18.  Movie: Sharknado 2 (Syfy), 1.3/4
20.  America’s Got Talent-Wednesday (NBC), 1.2/5
20.  Dateline-Friday (NBC), 1.2/5
20.  The Millers-r (CBS), 1.2/5
20.  20/20-Friday (ABC), 1.2/5
20.  American Dad, Tue. 10:30-r (ADSM), 1.2/4
20.  The Big Bang Theory, Thur. 10-r (TBS), 1.2/4
20.  Duck Dynasty (A&E), 1.2/4
20.  Family Guy-r (Fox), 1.2/4
20.  Keeping Up With the Kardashians (E!), 1.2/4
20.  The Simpsons-r (Fox), 1.2/4
20.  The Strain (FX), 1.2/4

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  America’s Got Talent-Wednesday (NBC), 10.79
2. America’s Got Talent-Tuesday (NBC), 10.64
3.  NFL Hall of Fame Game: N.Y. Giants-Buffalo (NBC), 8.53
4.  NCIS-r (CBS), 8.44
5.  The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose (ABC), 8.16
6.  60 Minutes (CBS), 8.05
7.  The Bachelorette finale (ABC), 8.00
8.  The Big Bang Theory-r (CBS), 7.20
9.  Big Brother-Sunday (CBS), 6.58
10.  Under the Dome (CBS), 6.57
11.  Big Brother-Wednesday (CBS), 6.50
12.  NCIS: Los Angeles-r (CBS), 6.42
13.  America’s Got Talent, Wednesday-r (NBC), 6.30
14.  Big Brother-Thursday (CBS), 6.29
15.  Blue Bloods-r (CBS), 5.99
16.  Extant (CBS), 5.92
17.  Dateline-Friday (NBC), 5.87
18. MasterChef (Fox), 5.76
19.  American Ninja Warrior (NBC), 5.73
20.  Unforgettable (CBS), 5.67

Source: Nielsen (English-language programs only)
Each 18-49 ratings point represents roughly 1.3 million viewers

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