Fox won -- barely -- with an overall rating and share of 2.1/6 in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic. "House" held the top spot of the night with a 2.4/7, up from lead-in "Bones," which delivered a 1.8/6.
In case you missed it ...
CBS was right behind with a 2.0/6 for an all-repeat lineup. The network's sitcoms "The Big Bang Theory" (two additional showings, 1.6/5 at 8 p.m. ET and a 2.2/6 at 9:30), "How I Met Your Mother" (1.8/5) and "Two and a Half Men" (2.5/7) led into "CSI: Miami" (2.0/6).
Of course, reruns don't work for every network. The CW repeated "Gossip Girl" (.5/1) and "One Tree Hill," which delivered a .4/1, which was also the CW's prime-time average.
As for reality, which has sizzled so far this summer? NBC's third "American Gladiators" (1.7/5) and "Nashville Star" (1.5/4) led into the original form of prime-time reality, a network newsmagazine, as "Dateline" delivered a 1.6/5, which was also NBC's third-place average for the night.
And ABC burrowed deep following last week's win, as "The Mole" (1.6/4) ran at 10 p.m. after 9 p.m.'s "The Mole: Take a Closer Look" (few did) delivered a 1.1/3. The network led off the night with "The Bachelor: Where Are They Now?" (probably not watching TV, as the reality retrospective only scored a 1.5/5). For the night, ABC finished fourth with a 1.4/4.
Cable increasingly resembles broadcast
But broadcast's night had another sequel of sorts channeling the big screen: cable's "Attack of the Original Series," whose programs may not yet approximate a big-screen, big-budget drama from a cultural perspective, but are nearly indistinguishable from network TV.
TNT ran season premieres of "The Closer" (1.9/5) and "Saving Grace" (1.2/4), which were down 14% and 20% from last summer's premieres. Still, TNT's top-rated show would have beaten 11 network programs last night, which is further indication that not only are dramas like "The Closer" closer than ever on a creative basis, but a commercial one, too.
The audience erosion for "The Closer" may have been caused by running into closers' nightmares -- the sluggers who give relief pitchers fits -- in a summer ritual nearly as well loved as big-screen sequels: ESPN's "Home Run Derby." The demo delivery jumped along with the home runs hit out of Yankee Stadium, as the 3.6/11 was up 38% from last year.
WHAT TO WATCH:
Tuesday: Reality's rise has made it a starless summer, at least on TV. Take a break and watch the Major League All-Stars on the midsummer classic on Fox.
Wednesday: It's the one night of the year with no games or events in any of the big four pro leagues. The big four networks don't offer too much excitement in exchange, but the best bet for those missing competition is Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance?"
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Will it be another wipeout? No, not a ratings-race win for the hit ABC reality show, but rather for Major League Baseball in the only All-Star game that means something.
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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.