'Baby Borrowers' Delivers for NBC

Rash Report: But Fox's 'So You Think You Can Dance' Tops the Night

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- Maybe it was "Juno." Or the hormonal adolescents quickly adjusting their clothes before trying to get away with a tryst in the viral video that angered J.C. Penney, embarrassed Saatchi & Saatchi and faked out the Cannes judges. And the unwarranted -- but not unwanted -- media attention from the supposed "pregnancy pact" at Gloucester High School could have been the tipping point. But America appears to be having a teen pregnancy "moment," with last night's premiere of NBC's "The Baby Borrowers," the social experiment/reality series in which five teen couples become instant parents, adding another hour.
NBC's 'The Baby Borrowers'
NBC's 'The Baby Borrowers' Credit: NBC/Tommy Baynard

"Baby's" delivery was smooth, with a healthy 2.9/9 rating and share in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic, which was up 81% from lead-in "Deal or No Deal" (1.6/6).

'Supernanny' overwhelmed
Of course, in real life kids grow up -- or not, in the case of "Supernanny," the ABC series about what to do when the cooing kids become cursing kids. This less-pleasant parenthood moment is maybe not so fun, at least for Nielsen families, as "Supernanny" finished fourth in its timeslot with a 1.4/4.

Some of those tough times with the kids may make some long for a different life. Or, network TV's reality version of it, "Wife Swap," which delivered a 1.7/6, 21% more than "Supernanny." ABC's night ended with "Primetime: Crime" (which sounds redundant, given the forensic frenzy of the "CSI" era), which arrested a 1.9/5, giving ABC a 1.7/5 average for the night.

But most of the time kids are talented and fun, such as the exuberant youth cutting the rug (and cutting up its competition) on Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance," which was the highest-rated show of the night. The two-hour average of 3.1/10 also made Fox tops.

Wedding bells and cowbells are ringing
Then, eventually, most kids grow up (or reach what passes for maturity in reality TV) and get a life of their own. Or in this case, a wife, as the finale of the CW's "Farmer Wants a Wife" (1.0/3) had its season (series?) finale, which was up 25% from its season average and more than doubled lead-in "America's Next Top Model" (.4/2). For the night, the CW averaged a .7/2.

This eventual adulthood usually means strong ratings results for CBS, but its more august audience may have been watching the kids (or grandkids) on "Baby Borrowers" and "So You Think You Can Dance," as three repeats --"The Price Is Right" (1.4/5), "Criminal Minds" (1.6/5) and "CSI: NY" (1.7/5) -- averaged a fourth-place 1.7/5.

As for teen pregnancy, a generation ago the stigma may have made some run away -- or even join the circus. But thankfully, these are more enlightened times. Now the circus is for celebrities, at least on network TV, as "Celebrity Circus" delivered a 2.0/6, down 31% from lead-in "Baby Borrowers," but still enough to give NBC a second-place 2.2/7.

WHAT TO WATCH:
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.
Friday: It might be a hot summer night. Cool off with "Singin' in the Rain" on Turner Classic Movies.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
ABC's hot hit -- at least for a week -- was the debut of "Wipeout." It's now set to add to the reality frivolity with "Dance Machine," which hopes to follow in the steps of Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" and its own dance hit, "Dancing With the Stars." It faces steep odds, especially launching on a summer Friday night.

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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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