Networks hit new lows in grim weekly ratings

Wed Jun 27, 2007 8:41am EDT

Judge David Hasselhoff smiles at the panel for ''America's Got Talent'' during the ''Television Critics Association'' tour in Pasadena, California, July 21, 2006 file photo. According to Nielsen Media Research data issued Tuesday NBC had the top two shows for the week in the 18-49 age group, ''America's Got Talent'' and ''Dateline.'' REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Judge David Hasselhoff smiles at the panel for ''America's Got Talent'' during the ''Television Critics Association'' tour in Pasadena, California, July 21, 2006 file photo. According to Nielsen Media Research data issued Tuesday NBC had the top two shows for the week in the 18-49 age group, ''America's Got Talent'' and ''Dateline.''

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - CBS and ABC fell to their lowest ratings among the coveted adults 18-49 demographic in two decades last week, as reruns and summer alternatives drove viewers from their couches.

CBS managed to win the week in total viewership, while NBC and Fox -- the most successful last week with original reality -- tied in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen Media Research data issued Tuesday. NBC also had the top two shows for the week in the demo, "America's Got Talent" and "Dateline."

CBS and ABC are the second and third networks to reach their lowest levels since Nielsen's introduction of "people meters" set-top devices during the 1987-88 season. NBC already had its worst week this month thanks to low-rated Stanley Cup hockey finals.

ABC suffered from the fact that there wouldn't be a sixth and seventh game of the NBA Finals as well as low ratings for its repeat serialized dramas and originals like "Fast Cars & Superstars." CBS had its own woes with "Creature Comforts" and "Pirate Master," its two originals. CBS probably will do better beginning next week with the three-times-a-week "Big Brother."

NBC got the week started Monday with wins in the demo and viewership, led by "Dateline" (12.2 million, 4.1 rating/12 share among adults 18-49), which featured Matt Lauer's interview with Princes William and Harry. NBC also was respectable with "Deal or No Deal" (12.1 million, 3.1/10), though not so much with its new reality entry "Age of Love" (6.9 million, 2.5/7), which lost a lot of ground between the two heavyweights. Fox did O.K. with "Hell's Kitchen" (7.6 million, 2.5/7), giving it second place for the night.

Fox made it two in a row with a victory Thursday thanks to "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" (9.2 million, 2.9/10) and "So You Think You Can Dance" (9 million, 3.4/11). ABC's troubles in repeat serialized drama were evident Thursday, with "Grey's Anatomy" averaging 3.8 million viewers between 9 and 11 p.m., down sharply from a regular-season average of 19.5 million. "Grey's" was beaten at 10 p.m. by NBC's canceled "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (4.4 million, 1.8/5).

It didn't get much better for ABC on Friday, when "Kyle XY" (2.8 million, 0.8/3) and "National Bingo Night" (3.4 million, 0.9/3) failed to generate much enthusiasm. It was hard for ABC on Sunday, too, with "Desperate Housewives" (3.2 million, 1.2/3) and "Brothers & Sisters" (2.7 million, 0.9/3) finding rough sledding. CBS, too, had trouble: Episodes of the usually formidable "Without a Trace" and "Cold Case" couldn't crack 1.6 ratings in the demo, and all three hours Sunday were less than 8 million viewers. Fox won in the demo for the night thanks to a repeat "Family Guy" (4.6 million, 2.3/7).

In viewership, CBS (7.1 million, 1.7/5) led the way for the week, with NBC (6.3 million, 2.1/7) and Fox (5.3 million, 2.1/7) tying in adults 18-49, followed by ABC (4 million, 1.4/4), the CW (1.9 million, 0.7/2) and MyNetworkTV (880,000, 0.4/1).

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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