August 6, 2008
No Wiping Out Reality Shows
By Bill Keveney
*Reality muscle. NBC's America's Got Talent scored a season high Tuesday, 13.8 million viewers, and was the week's most-watched show by a wide margin. Another summer reality hit, ABC's Wipeout, also on Tuesday, took the No. 2 spot but trailed Talent by just a bit (4.8 million vs. 4.7 million) among advertiser-coveted young adults.
*Bringing up (and down) baby. Wednesday's season finale of The Baby Borrowers (5.4 million) was up 14% from its previous episode but lagged behind the June premiere (7.9 million) of the controversial NBC series.
*Split decision. CBS, with six of the top 10 programs, was No. 1 for the week; Fox finished first in young adults.
*Good first, last impressions. Eureka's third-season opener (2.8 million) Tuesday was the Sci Fi series' most-watched episode since its premiere in 2006; it was up 10% from the second-season premiere. Sunday's Season 3 finale of HGTV Design Star (3.3 million) posted a slight increase over its second-season closer (3.1 million).
*Ad sales down. After setting a series record (2.1 million) with its second-season premiere, AMC's Mad Men dropped to 1.3 million Sunday -- still well ahead of the '60s ad agency drama's roughly 1-million-viewer average for its first season.
*Where's Cartman? Lewis Black's Root of All Evil began its second season on Comedy Central Wednesday with 1.1 million viewers, about half the total of its series debut. However, that premiere had followed a new episode of South Park (3.1 million), while its South Park lead-in this time was a rerun that drew only 1.4 million.
*Wildlife documentary. E!'s Pam: Girl on the Loose, which is being called an "observational documentary," attracted 1.1 million for its premiere Sunday. The audience grew to 1.3 million for the second-season opener of Sunset Tan, which followed.
By Bill Keveney (c) Copyright 2008 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. <>>