July 13, 2005

‘Stars’ shine for ABC during July 4 holiday week

By Cynthia Littleton

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The broadcast networks
scraped the bottom of the Nielsen barrel in the week ending
July 10, which encompassed the Independence Day holiday.

ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" finale Wednesday was the
only program to buck the traditional swoon in primetime
viewership around the Fourth of July. In a sign of the times,
USA Network's fourth-season premiere of the comedy-drama "Monk"
on Friday drew higher ratings than many of the summer original
series airing last week on the Big Four broadcast networks,
according to Nielsen Media Research.

Buoyed by the strength of its core schedule, even in
repeats, CBS had no trouble taking the weekly win in total
viewers, with an average of 7.4 million, and the eye network
tied ABC for No. 1 in the adults 18-49 demo (2.0 rating/7

Fox and NBC were right behind them, tied at a 1.9/6. ABC
was No. 2 in viewers (6.1 million), followed by NBC (5.8
million), Fox (4.4 million), UPN (2.3 million) and WB Network
(1.9 million). UPN and WB were both just as bad off as their
older broadcast siblings in their target demo of adults 18-34,
with UPN averaging a 1.0/4 to WB's 0.8/3.

The week began at a low ebb with holiday-light viewing
levels Monday. CBS had the most-watched fireworks special with
10 p.m.'s "Boston Pops Fireworks" (7.7 million, 1.6/6) thanks
to the assist from its 9 p.m. lead-in, a "CSI: Miami" repeat
(7.1 million, 2.1/8).

The week's standout amid the summer doldrums was the 9 p.m.
Wednesday "Dancing With the Stars" clincher, which crowned
"General Hospital" star Kelly Monaco the winner of the
six-episode dance-competition series. "Stars" (22.4 million,
6.7/19) was by far the most-watched program of the week, and it
generated the highest demo score.

CBS opened the door to "Big Brother 6" (8.5 million,
3.4/11) on Thursday. The 8 p.m. reality show was slightly off
its game compared with summer 2004's premiere, but it still
helped the network stay far ahead of the rest of the primetime
pack on the night.

On Friday, the 10 p.m. "Monk" (6.4 million, 2.4/7) topped
(albeit narrowly) everything offered on the night in the
broadcast realm in the key adults 18-49 demographic. In total
viewers, the only program that drew a larger audience than
"Monk" was ABC's 10 p.m. newsmagazine "20/20" (6.7 million,
2.3/7), and NBC's two-hour "Dateline NBC" (6.4 million, 2.1/7)
matched "Monk's" audience.

"Monk" also outpaced such original unscripted fare as NBC's
Tuesday 8-10 p.m. combo of "Average Joe" (4.9 million, 2.0/6)
and "I Want to Be a Hilton" (2.0/6) and CBS' 8 p.m. Wednesday
entry "The Cut" (4 million, 1.3/4).

NBC on Saturday gave a free-TV showcase to its sibling Sci
Fi Channel series "Battlestar Galactica" (2.3 million, 0.8/3)
with minimal results. On Sunday, underwhelming numbers for the
debut of Fox's 8:30 p.m. reality series "The Princes of Malibu"
(5 million, 2.6/8) rounded out an unimpressive week.

Lifetime scored the highest-rated original movie of the
year to date Monday with "Murder in the Hamptons," which
attracted 4.8 million. In addition to basic cable competitors,
Lifetime managed to top ABC, UPN and WB in key female demos.

VH1 got strong results Sunday from the series premiere of
"Hogan Knows Best," which became the second-highest-rated
program ever on the channel by reaching 2.7 million. The other
members of VH1's "Celebreality" block also succeeded as "The
Surreal Life's" fifth-season premiere drew 2 million, while the
second-season premiere of "Celebrity Fit Club" drew 2.2

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter