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Summer not so hot for networks in primetime

(Posted August 3, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Despite all of the original series on the schedule, the Big Four networks' summer slump continued during the week ended July 31.

CBS won the week in viewers, with a mere 7 million average, and tied Fox for the No. 1 ranking in the adults 18-49 demographic with an equally lackluster 2.2 rating/7 share, according to Nielsen Media Research.

As usual, CBS was powered by the strength of its regular schedule, even in repeats. Fox was buoyed at opposite ends of the week by Monday's 9 p.m. "Hell's Kitchen" (7.4 million, 3.6/10) and Sunday's combo of the 8:30-9:30 p.m. "The Simpsons" (6.7 million, 3.3/10) and "Family Guy" (6.6 million, 3.2/9). Fox's Wednesday 8:00-9:30 p.m. dance competition series "So You Think You Can Dance" (8 million, 3.3/11) cooled considerably in its second airing.

NBC was No. 2 to CBS for the week in viewers (5.8 million), followed by ABC (5.2 million), Fox (5.1 million), UPN (2.8 million) and WB Network (1.7 million). In the key demo, NBC trailed CBS and Fox at a 1.8/6, while ABC pulled a 1.7/6.

Although the Big Four are offering a fair number of original series in the off-season this year, the numbers compared with summer 2004 are down or flat.

For the period stretching from May 30-July 31, CBS is down 11% in viewers compared with the comparable period last year and down 8% in adults 18-49. NBC is off 20% in the demo and down 11% in viewers. Both CBS and NBC have had uphill climbs with their summer originals. Even CBS' "Big Brother" franchise is off its game this year, while the heavily promoted "Rock Star: INXS" has shown little spark. NBC has been in the same boat, with its "Average Joe" matchmaking series delivering unimpressive numbers, while new offerings like "I Want to Be a Hilton" were barely sampled.

ABC and Fox are up 8% and 3%, respectively, in viewers for the summer-to-date; both nets are flat in the adults 18-49 column despite Fox's traction with "Hell's Kitchen" and ABC's sleeper success with "Dancing With the Stars."

By Cynthia Littleton and Andrew Wallenstein

Source: ABC News

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