ABC Tops Tuesday With 'Wipeout,' 'Japanese Game Show'

Rash Report: Beats NBC's 'Celebrity Family Feud' and 'America's Got Talent'

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- So maybe it wasn't the greatest night for culture. But at least it was a big night for cultural diversity, as American audiences chose ABC's two new Japanese-inspired game shows -- "Wipeout" and "I Survived a Japanese Game Show" -- over a scowling Scotsman on Fox's "Hell's Kitchen" and America's obsession with celebrities and wannabes on NBC's "Celebrity Family Feud" and "America's Got Talent."
'Wipeout,' one of ABC's two new Japanese-inspired game shows, won handily in the 8 p.m. ET hour with a 3.7/12 rating and share in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic.
'Wipeout,' one of ABC's two new Japanese-inspired game shows, won handily in the 8 p.m. ET hour with a 3.7/12 rating and share in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic. Credit: ABC/Adam Larkey

"Wipeout," in the 8 p.m. ET hour, won handily with a 3.7/12 rating and share in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic, easily beating NBC's "Celebrity Family Feud" (2.3/8) and chef Gordon Ramsay in Fox's "Hell's Kitchen" (1.3/4). "Kitchen" usually doesn't run in the time period, but was placed there as a scheduling stunt meant to stunt the program premieres on ABC and NBC. It might have worked, had Fox run an original episode; the original episode that did run in the following hour won with a 3.6/10 to give Fox an overall third-place average of 2.5/8.

'Game Show' a winner
ABC's "I Survived a Japanese Game Show" (3.1/9) not only survived, but thrived, finishing second in the 9 p.m. ET hour. This beat the first half of a two-hour "America's Got Talent," which won the 10 p.m. timeslot and averaged an overall 3.1/9. For the night, NBC was second with a 2.8/8.

ABC followed "Wipeout" and "Japanese Game Show" with the season premiere of "Primetime: The Outsiders" (2.5/7). This program, too, explored cultural diversity, as it profiled "Rumspringa," the tradition of Amish youth experiencing the modern world (which presumably includes watching American adaptations of Japanese game shows) before committing to an Amish lifestyle. While it finished second in its timeslot, ABC was first for the night with a 3.1/9.

"Primetime: The Outsiders" may have been new, but it wasn't the only news show of the night -- CBS's "48 Hours Mystery" delivered a 1.6/4. And it wasn't the only reality, as a rerun of the CW's "Beauty and the Geek" delivered a .4/1.

And, indeed, "Wipeout" wasn't the only wipeout, either, as drama and comedy, the two original forms of cultural diversity (not to mention network TV) were both wiped out: Comedy by schedulers, as there wasn't a single sitcom on network TV Tuesday night. And drama by viewers, as the CW's "Reaper" repeat delivered a fifth-place .5/1 and CBS's "NCIS" and "Without a Trace" both ended with a fourth-place 1.3/4. These were the same spots as their respective networks, as the CW (.4/1) and CBS (1.4/4) ran a reality gantlet worthy of a wacky game show.

WHAT TO WATCH:
Wednesday: After ABC jumped the Pacific (if not the shark) with "Japanese Game Show" and "Wipeout," NBC reaches across the Atlantic to recreate British TV's "The Baby Borrowers."
Thursday: Another returning summer series, but this time it's news, reality and drama (and, hopefully to break the tension, a little humor) rolled into one: "Hopkins," ABC's in-depth look at the patients and practitioners at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Tuesday's ratings indicate viewers are ready for a summer fling with reality frivolity. So if they're not offended by the social experiment on NBC's "The Baby Borrowers," expect it to be competitive, but not to beat Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance."

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NOTE: A share is a percentage of TV households that have their TV sets on at a given time. A rating is a percentage of all TV households, whether or not their sets are turned on. For example, a 1.0 rating is 1% of the total U.S. households with TVs. Ratings quoted in this column are based on live-plus-same-day unless otherwise noted. (Many ad deals have been negotiated on the basis of commercial-minute, live-plus-three-days viewing.)

John Rash is senior VP-director of media analysis for Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis. For more, see rashreport.com.
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