Summer Reality Shines, Fall Previews Cool

Rash Report: Wednesday Watchers Not Enticed by Promo Programming

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- The new season's almost here! Can't you sense the audience anticipation? Actually, no. At least not in to last night's ratings race, whose winners were much more reflective of the summer season than the new fall one, which starts next week.

Fox's 'Glee' captured 46% of the audience it did the first time, but that's better than other repeats have fared this summer.
Fox's 'Glee' captured 46% of the audience it did the first time, but that's better than other repeats have fared this summer. Credit: Fox
Not that two networks didn't try to entice excitement. Fox, for instance, repeated the promising pilot of "Glee," which delivered a 1.8/5 rating and share in the ad-centric 18-to-49 demographic. While that was only 46% of its spring showing, it was actually high relative to other repeat averages this summer. And its 95% ratings retention of lead-in "So You Think You Can Dance" (1.9/6) suggests the hype Fox hoped for upon its return may pay off big when new episodes start next week. For the night, Fox finished third with a 1.8/6.

But "Glee" was beat by summer success "America's Got Talent" on NBC, which the network reports was broadcast's highest-rated overall telecast this summer. Its demo delivery was 2.7/8, which, combined with a "Talent" recap show at 8 p.m. (1.5/5) and a "Law and Order: SVU" repeat at 9p.m. (1.7/5), led NBC to a second place 1.9/6.

First actually went to ABC (2.2/7), as "Wipeout" -- the absurdist, escapist reality show that looks like a bad outing to a water park -- which is the ultimate summer series, won its 8 p.m. hour with a 2.7/9. Less escapist, but still victorious, was 10 p.m.'s "Primetime: Crime" (2.1/6). In between was reality wreck "Crash Course" (1.7/5), which seems unlikely to make any season after it ends soon.

As for CBS, it finished fourth with a 1.4/4, as lackluster repeats failed to win any hour. There was one original show, "The CBS Fall Preview." Delivering a .9/3, it was last among the Big Four networks.

Maybe next week, post-Labor Day viewers will work up some excitement for fall.

Rash gridsEnlarge
See how all the shows did in the ratings.

WHAT TO WATCH:
Thursday: Great actors have range. And in the range of three years, one of his generation's most underrated actors, Gene Wilder, starred in 1971's all-family film, "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" (ABC Family) and 1974's more adult humor hit "Young Frankenstein" (AMC). (Let's hope your DVR has range, too, as they both start at 8 p.m.)
Friday: Ho-hum. More celebrities and keen competition. But wait! Not summer reality shows but the stars courtside watching the world's greatest tennis players at the U.S. Open, on ESPN 2.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Up against reruns and reality, it should be another tailor-made night for "Project Runway," which started strong on its new network, Lifetime.

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NOTE: All ratings based on adults 18-49. A share is a percentage of adults 18-49 who have their TV sets on at a given time. A rating is a percentage of all adults 18-49, whether or not their sets are turned on. For example, a 1.0 rating is 1% of the total U.S. adults 18-49 population 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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