Weekly Ratings: ‘Fear the Walking Dead,’ ‘America’s Got Talent’ Set the Pace

It may be the dog days of summer, but AMC was barking loudly last week with the record-setting premiere of “Fear the Walking Dead.”

The prequel to “The Walking Dead” became the top-rated cable premiere of all time in both adults 18-49 (4.9 rating) and total viewers (10.31 million), according to Nielsen’s “live plus same-day” estimates — topping the scores for every episode from the first two seasons of the original zombie series, which bowed in 2010.

In the demo, Sunday’s premiere rating breaks the previous cable high set in February by AMC’s debut of “Better Call Saul” (3.5 rating, airing behind “Walking Dead”). And in total viewers, “Fear the Walking Dead” leap-frogs the 2008 premiere of TNT’s “Raising the Bar,” which drew 7.7 million viewers.

“Fear” even fares well relative to the top broadcast premieres of late. The 4.9 rating is more than 1 point above this past season’s top hourlong premieres (“How to Get Away With Murder” and “Empire”) and is the best for any drama launch since ABC’s sci-fi series “V” in 2009.

Elsewhere, Fox News Channel remained hot, leading all cable networks in primetime viewership (2 million) for a third straight week and the fifth time in six weeks. (The network also got off to a good start on Monday of the current week, with “The Kelly File” drawing a 2015-best 3.10 million viewers in host Megyn Kelly’s first day back from vacation.)

Overall, NBC remained on top in adults 18-49 for a fifth straight week, also prevailing in adults 25-54 and adults 18-34, while CBS ruled as usual in total viewers.

The Peacock was led by “America’s Got Talent,” whose Tuesday performance show was the week’s No. 2 program in 18-49 (2.3 rating/8 share) and No. 1 in total viewers (11.42 million). It was one of nine NBC programs among the week’s top 20 broadcast series in 18-49, a list that also included “American Ninja Warrior” (1.9/7 in 18-49, 6.81 million viewers overall), “Hollywood Game Night” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 4.62 million viewers overall) and “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.24 million), even in repeat.

Also for NBC, “Mr. Robinson” capped its three-week run with credible numbers, and its 9 p.m. episode ranked as the top scripted broadcast original of the week in 18-49 (1.01). It edged out CBS’ “Zoo” (0.95), which remained tops among new dramas in total viewers (5.85 million).

CBS, “Big Brother” again placed all three of its editions in the top five in 18-49, while ABC’s “Bachelor in Paradise” picked up more steam (and then hit a series high on Monday of the current week with a 1.8 rating). Fox’s lone series representative in the top 20 remained “MasterChef” (1.4/5 in 18-49,  4.66 million viewers overall).

At Telemundo, Thursday’s broadcast of the 2015 “Premios Tu Mundo” delivered the best numbers for the awards show (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.36 million viewers overall) in its four years on the air, rising 9% in the demo and 24% in total viewers vs. last year. Locally, it ranked as the No. 1 show in its timeslot among adults 18-49 in Los Angeles, New York and Miami.

In other cable highlights for the week, HBO’s “Ballers” ended its first season on a low note (0.71 in 18-49, 1.40 million viewers overall) but still finished as the network’s top-rated comedy since “Hung” in 2009 (grossing 8.8 million viewers weekly) “The Brink,” which like “Ballers” has been renewed for a second season, also dipped in its close Sunday (0.36 in 18-49, 872,000 viewers overall).

ABC Family’s “The Fosters” (0.52 in 18-49, 1.25 million viewers overall in Live+SD) hit season highs in Live+3 with Monday’s season finale. In adults 18-34, the show spiked to a 1.1 rating, its best since last December. For the season, the family drama stood as cable’s No. 1 scripted series in the 8 o’clock hour in adults 18-34, women 18-34, adults 18-49 and other target demos.

Lifetime’s “Unauthorized Full House Movie” did a nothing-special 1.57 million viewers for its premiere on Saturday, though its 0.61 rating in 18-49 was the second best for an original pic on the network this summer (behind a 0.63 for “A Deadly Adoption” in June). And for the night, it stood as cable’s No. 1 original in key female demos.

One week from its first-season finale, USA’s “Mr. Robot” (0.49 in 18-49, 1.32 million viewers overall) grew in Live+3 to six-week highs in both 18-49 (1.0) and 25-54 (1.2)

Bravo’s Aug. 16 premiere of “Don’t Be Tardy …” rose in Live+3 to a 0.71 in 18-49, a 0.91 in adults 25-54 and 1.70 million viewers overall — up across the board vs. last year and the show’s best scores to date for an opener.

TOP PRIMETIME NETWORKS

(August 17-23, 2015; live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49 (rating/share)
NBC ……………………….  1.08/4
CBS ………………………..  0.87/3
Fox ………………………..   0.84/3
ABC ……………………….   0.79/3
AMC ………………………..  0.71/3
UNI …………………………  0.69/3
TEL …………………………  0.65/2
USA ………………………..  0.51/2
TBS …………………………  0.50/2
Adult Swim …………………. 0.44/1

Total Viewers (in millions)
CBS ………………………..  5.04
NBC ………………………..  4.53
ABC ………………………..  3.29
Fox …………………………  2.79
FNC …………………………  1.98
UNI ………………………… 1.95
Disney ……………………..  1.73
AMC ………………………..  1.68
USA …………………………  1.61
HGTV……………………….  1.58

TOP PRIMETIME PROGRAMS
(Aug. 17-23, 2015; live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49 (rating/share)
1.  Fear the Walking Dead (AMC), 4.9/19
2.  America’s Got Talent-Tuesday (NBC), 2.3/8
3.  Big Brother-Wednesday (CBS), 2.1/8
4.  Big Brother-Sunday (CBS), 2.0/7
4.  Big Brother-Thursday (CBS), 2.0/7
6.  American Ninja Warrior (NBC), 1.9/7
6.  Talking Dead (AMC), 1.9/6
8.  NFL Preseason (Sunday): St. Louis-Tennessee (Fox), 1.7/6
8.  Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta (VH1), 1.7/6
10.  America’s Got Talent-Wednesday (NBC), 1.6/6
11.  Bachelor in Paradise-Monday (ABC), 1.5/6
12.  The Big Bang Theory-r (CBS), 1.4/6
12.  MasterChef (Fox), 1.4/5
14.  Hollywood Game Night (NBC), 1.3/5
14.  Bachelor in Paradise-Sunday (ABC), 1.3/4
14.  Running Wild with Bear Grylls (NBC), 1.3/4
14.  NFL Preseason (Thursday): Cleveland-Buffalo (ESPN), 1.3/4
14.  WWE Raw (USA), 1.3/4
19.  Dateline-Thursday (NBC), 1.2/4
20.  Mom-r (CBS), 1.1/5
20.  Last Comic Standing (NBC), 1.1/4
20.  Naked and Afraid XL (Discovery), 1.1/4

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  America’s Got Talent-Tuesday (NBC), 11.42
2.  Fear the Walking Dead (AMC), 10.13
3.  America’s Got Talent-Wednesday (NBC), 9.12
4.  NCIS-r (CBS), 8.34
5.  60 Minutes (CBS), 7.56
6.  The Big Bang Theory-r (CBS), 6.82
7.  American Ninja Warrior (NBC), 6.81
8.  Big Brother-Wednesday (CBS), 6.52
9.  Big Brother-Thursday (CBS), 6.48
10.  Big Brother-Sunday (CBS), 6.15
11.  Zoo (CBS), 5.85
12.  NCIS: New Orleans-r (CBS), 5.77
13.  NCIS: Los Angeles-r (CBS), 5.74
14.  Scorpion (CBS), 5.54
14.  Dateline-Thursday (NBC), 5.54
16.  NFL Preseason (Sunday): St. Louis-Tennessee (Fox), 5.41
17.  Mom-r (CBS), 5.41
18.  Bachelor in Paradise-Monday (ABC), 5.24
19.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 5.03
20.  America’s Funniest Home Videos-r (ABC), 4.92

TOP PRIMETIME SCRIPTED ORIGINALS IN 18-49 RATING
(Aug. 17-23, 2015; live plus same-day)
 1.  Fear the Walking Dead (AMC), 4.93
2.  Mr. Robinson-9 p.m. (NBC), 1.01
3.  Zoo (CBS), 0.95
4.  The Haves and the Have Nots (OWN), 0.87
4.  Mr. Robinson-9:30 p.m. (NBC), 0.87
6.  Mistresses (ABC), 0.80
7.  Under the Dome (CBS), 0.76
8.  Extant (CBS), 0.74
8.  Rizzoli & Isles (TNT), 0.74
10.  The Astronaut Wives Club (ABC), 0.72

Source: Nielsen

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