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Summer Session: First-Half Finals - July 12

Welcome to the final exams. We're going on a schedule here, so let's not waste any time. The summer's half over, and it's time to see whether our early summer shows measured up.


Last week, Hell's Kitchen was closed for the holiday, as was the office of Scholar-ship. For one, it would've been better if it were closed permanently. I'll leave it to you to figure out which one.


Let's go in order, starting with the graduating (or in this case, flunking out) of "Fire Me Please!" and its competition, NBC's "I Want to Be a Hilton". Going to Mediaweek's Marc Berman: "a combination of new and repeat footage on "Fire Me…Please" (Overnights: #2, 4.4/ 7; Viewers: #2, 6.18 million; A18-49: #2, 2.4/ 7) bested NBC's oddly addictive "I Want to Be a Hilton" (Overnights: #4, 4.0/ 6; Viewers: #4, 4.85 million; A18-49: #4, 2.0/ 6) by an average 10 percent in the overnights, 1.33 million viewers and 20 percent among adults 18-49. If you have not seen I Want to Be a Hilton (and apparently many have not), you're missing must see reality contestant Latricia, whose expressions alone are worthy of a role on a sitcom."

If you want to see entry numbers side-by-side, you'd want to see a different story.

  Overnights Viewers Adults 18-49
FIRST WEEK 5.5/9, second 8.28 million, second 3.3/10, first
FINAL WEEK 4.4/7, second 6.18 million, second 2.4/7, second

Apparently, no one will be "fired" up to see this one go. And, no offense to my colleague at Mediaweek, but if you have to use the parenthetical "or series" mark, then there's a problem.

Among new entries, Average Joe tied in the 18-49s for first with a 2.0/6, but the news is not that assuring elsewhere. Last week's episode at its regular time posted a 3.9/7 in the overnights, third place, and 4.92 million viewers, again third place. That's down in the overnights, but up in the total viewers. So mixed results for the episode that brought in the customary bad guys. Evidently viewers are tired of the same-old-same-old. I know I am.

Back to "I Want to Be a Hilton", which started weak, and continued weak. This week? Still weak. See above numbers, which are off from the premiere approximately 30 percent in the overnights & viewers, and 25 percent in the adults 18-49. The good news: it's actually up in target demos from last week. Not weak, but definitely not a player yet either.


It was all about "Dancing with the Stars". It started strong. It ended strong. And while some people may question how it ended (personally, I don't care either way. John had the skills and Kelly had the drive), there's no questioning this: it has posted ABC's highest summer numbers since the first series of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" back in 1999. Overall, the overnight ratings were up, 16.2/25; Viewers: 21.84 million; A18-49: 6.5/19. All number one finishes, all building from the premiere. All but a done deal for a second edition, I believe.

"Beauty and the Geek" wasn't a dumb cookie either, as the finale broke through the top four in its time slots on all fronts. It placed third overall (4.0/7, up from the 2.2 in its first week), fourth in viewers (4.06 million viewers, up from 3.17 million in the first week), and second only to the "Dancing" rerun among adults 18-49 (1.9/7, up from the 1.6/5). When season 2 premieres, hope for a build-off.

As for the move by "The Cut"? Well... to say that it didn't help matters much would be a gross understatement. The first Thursday show, digging back into the NG Archives: a narrow number-two placing in households (5.1/9) and viewers (6.68 million), and a number-three placing in A18-49 (2.1/7), all opposite ABC's NBA playoff matchups. The show never quite recovered from that (and having the stigma of being "another clone"). The Wednesday numbers back it up, 3.1/5 in the overnights (fourth place and down 40 percent), 4.15 million viewers (third place and down 38 percent) and a 1.3/4 among adults 18-49 (fifth place and down 34 percent). Ouch.


We open up a summer tradition on a high note: "Big Brother 6". The hour-long series premiere (as opposed to the 90-minute wingding from last year, in which we found out that two houseguests were blood relatives) scored with a 6.2/11 in the overnights, 8.61 million viewers and a 3.4/11 among adults 18-49 from 8p, all first place showings. Comparatively, that was down slightly from the time period debut of Big Brother 5 on the year ago evening (Overnights: 6.2/11; Nationals - Viewers: 9.16 million; A18-49: 3.7/13 on July 8, 2004). But that's okay. Because it'll only get better from here. Hey, it's Big Brother. Even when it's bad, it's still kinda good (unless you're talking about the first season, when it was essentially American Idol minus the singing).

So we give our valedictorian award to "Dancing with the Stars", with salutatorian going to "Beauty and the Geek". Here's to a bright future for both. Thank you, BBC. Thank you, Ashton.

And finally, a plea. If anyone has any preliminaries for "Iron Chef America", "The 70s House", and "Poker Royale", don't hesitate to send them over. Same if you have other tips. Because this is just as much your column as it is mine.

More games under the microscope (and as for one, under the microphone) next week. Until then, remember, the numbers never lie.

Chico Alexander was a fan of IC since Chairman Kaga was knee-high to a yellow bell pepper. E-mail him with tips and numbers at chico@gameshownewsnet.com


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