What do American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, Survivor, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, Hell’s Kitchen, Big Brother, So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Got Talent and Wipeout have in common? They are broadcast TV’s biggest reality franchises of the past decade. And they all launched in the summer. Summer used to be a time for the networks to try out innovative reality formats that had never been done on the Big 4 broadcast nets (ballroom dancing or singing competitions, shows about castaways on an island or strangers locked in a house) or had been gone from primetime for a long time (game shows). Now the broadcast networks are throwing on retreads of over-exposed formats from June through August, so it’s no surprise that nothing has stuck since Wipeout launched on ABC in June 2008. A slew of newcomers came and went over the past three months: ABC’s Expedition Impossible, Take the Money & Run, Karaoke Battle USA and 101 Ways To Leave a Game Show; CBS’ Same Name, NBC’s Love In the Wild and the similar It’s Worth What?; and Buried Treasure on Fox. The only new offering on broadcast to show a pulse this summer was ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, helped by a solid lead-in and the fact that it is an offshoot of a popular franchise. Things looked as bleak on the scripted side, with ABC’s Combat Hospital, Fox’s sketch comedy In the Flow With Affion Crockett and NBC’s burnoff Love Bites barely registering.
With Fox’s and NBC’s unscripted lineups heading in opposite direction — Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen and Masterchef rising and NBC’s It’s Worth What? and America’s Got Talent tumbling — Fox tied NBC for the top spot Tuesday night among adults 18-49 with a 2.5 rating. Hell’s Kitchen (2.6/9) was up a tenth from last week, while Masterchef (2.4/7) was up two tenths to tie its season high. NBC’s new game show It’s Worth What? (1.4/5) fell 26% from its series premiere last week. Talent (3.0/9) was down 17% for its lowest Tuesday rating this summer. The talent competition was still the highest-rated program of the night and is running ahead of last year. It’s Worth What? matched the season finale of another underperforming new game show, ABC’s 101 Ways To Leave A Game Show (1.4/4), whose season finale hit a series low. At 10 PM, Combat Hospital (0.9/3) was up a tenth.
Sorry for the delay, Nielsen had processing issues this morning. ABC probably didn’t mind as it delayed the bad news about the premiere performance of the network’s summer Tuesday lineup. At 8 PM, Wipeout (1.7/6) was down a whopping 45% from last summer’s opener to post the reality series’ lowest-rated summer telecast ever. The episode was dubbed “special preview”, with Wipeout‘s official season premiere slated for tonight. At 9 PM, new game show 101 Ways to Leave a Game Show (1.9/5) did a little better, even with last year’s premiere of Downfall. And at 10 PM, the Canadian/U.K.-produced medical drama Combat Hospital managed a 1.2/3. That was down 37% from last summer’s debut on ABC of another Canadian drama series, Rookie Blue.
All other originals were down last night. NBC’s The Voice (4.3/12) was down 7% (4% vs. its fast national rating as the singing competition tends to go up a tenth in the finals). America’s Got Talent (3.2/11) was down 9% for a season low. NBC still dominated the night with a 3.9/12 in adults 18-49 and 11.9 million viewers. Fox’s MasterChef (1.8/6) was down a tenth, edging the premiere of Wipeout for second place in the 8 PM hour among adults 18-49. The network aired Raising Hope repeats from 9-10 PM, while CBS stuck to its regular Tuesday lineup in reruns.
The summer premiere of ABC’s 101 Ways to Leave a Game Show is shifting to Tuesday, June 21 at 9 PM, the network announced today. It also said that the series premiere of Expedition Impossible and the Season 2 premiere of Rookie Blue will move to Thursday, June 23 at 9 PM and 10 PM, respectively. Wipeout will air a special original episode June 21, with the season premiere airing June 23, both at 8 PM. The series premiere of Take the Money and Run moves to Tuesday, Aug. 2 at 9 PM.
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