Fox Tops This Summer, NBC Will Make Olympic Run For Ratings

Fox's Hells Kitchen Two-thirds of the way through the summer prime-time season, Fox still dominates all comers. But with the coming of NBC's Beijing Olympics, all that is almost certain to change.

In a report from Interpublic Group's media agency Magna, results for NBC have been mixed so far--with the network hitting the same ratings levels now that it reached a year ago through its variety of reality shows. But all that will dramatically change with its big two-week sporting event to begin August 8, 2008.

Right now, looking at the live-plus-same-day ratings from May 26 to July 27 among 18-49 viewers, Fox is well above other networks with a 2.2 rating--the same number it held through the same period of a year ago.

Fox's strong effort has been paced by summer leader "Hell's Kitchen"--averaging a 3.6 rating among 18-49 viewers--and "So You Think You Can Dance?," which is posting a solid 2.7 average rating for its Wednesday performance show and a 2.6 rating for its Thursday results show.



NBC and ABC were tied for second place, with a 1.8 rating among 18-49 viewers.

While NBC showed no change versus a year ago, ABC improved dramatically with a 13% increase that was mostly the result of its hit sports competition show "Wipeout," which is averaging a 3.3 rating--third-best of all summer shows behind summer leader Fox with "Hell's Kitchen" (a 3.6) and NBC with "America's Got Talent" (a 3.5).

CBS was next--in fourth place with a 1.6 rating among 18-49 viewers, and down 11% versus a year ago. The positive news for the network is that it leads in households, total viewers and adults 35 plus--although Magna notes that all those metrics are down for CBS versus its numbers of a year ago.

CBS' best performer this year is "Million Dollar Password," which earned a 1.7. Its "Big Brother" pulled in a 1.5 rating.

The CW has not been much of a player in the summer period--down 14% to a 0.6 rating among 18-49 viewers, off 14% to a 0.6 among 18-34 viewers, and down 25% in its key demographic group, 12-24 viewers.

Cable networks, with their typically fresh original series in the summer, have again made some slight headway against the five broadcast networks. Advertising-supported cable is up 2% in 18-49 viewers, while the five broadcast networks are down an average 1%. Homes Using Television (HUT) levels have inched up 2% among those viewers.

Virtually the same pattern appears among young viewers ages 18-34, with the cable networks improving 1% and broadcast networks down 2%. HUT levels among those viewers gained 1%. Older 25-54 demos witnessed cable networks gaining 2%, while broadcasters inched up 1%.

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