Babies and Toddlers Galore on Prime Time

Rash Report: 'Baby Borrowers' Gives Boost to NBC, While Dancers Lift Fox to No. 1

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MINNEAPOLIS ( -- Right before Independence Day, all eyes were on a show about dependence.

"The Baby Borrowers," NBC's British import about how five teen couples react to instant parenthood -- with real live "borrowed" babies -- had its first episode since its promising premiere last week. Based on the Nielsen fast-affiliate ratings, it didn't hit its terrible twos, but it isn't a prodigy, either. Instead, it held steady at 97% of last week's delivery with a 2.8/8 rating and share in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic.
A two-hour version of Fox's 'So You Think You Can Dance' stepped its way into first place with a 3.2/10.
A two-hour version of Fox's 'So You Think You Can Dance' stepped its way into first place with a 3.2/10. Credit: Kelsey McNeal/Fox

Learning to walk
Like the infants in "Baby Borrowers," NBC has quickly learned to be dependent on the show itself. It repeated last week's debut at 8 p.m. ET, but the rerun was only half as successful as this week's new episode, delivering a 1.4/5. But the network shouldn't become overly dependent on lead-out "Celebrity Circus" (1.9/6), which has fallen 17% since its June 11 premiere. Luckily, "Celebrity Circus" was working with a net -- namely, running against repeats on CBS ("CSI: NY," 1.9/6) and ABC ("Primetime: Crime," 1.7/5) -- so it was able to tie for first place in the time slot. Overall, NBC finished second with a 2.0/6.

It was a by-the-book nanny that kids (and their weary parents) depended on in ABC's "Supernanny," which delivered a 1.4/4 for a repeat. This was slightly up from "Wife Swap" (1.3/5). Combined with "Primetime: Crime," ABC's prime time fell to fourth place with a 1.5/5.

Youthful ambition
Fox and the CW, on the other hand, featured slightly older youth gaining their independence, as the contestants on Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" and the CW's "America's Next Top Model" and "The Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious" make their way in the world by trying to make a name for themselves. Summer viewers preferred this vision of teen life, at least on Fox, as a two-hour version of "Dance" stepped its way into first place with a 3.2/10. The CW, conversely, finished fifth, as both "Top Model" and "Girlicious" were repeats, delivering a 0.4/1 each, which was the network's average.

As for CBS? Well, it too was dependent -- on repeats. And unlike the babies on "Baby Borrowers," the kids on "Supernanny" or the young adults on "So You Think You Can Dance," it skipped a generation (OK, two or three) with a prime-time version of a daytime game show that started in 1972: "The Price Is Right Million Dollar Spectacular" (1.5/5). This led into repeats of "Criminal Minds" (1.8/5) and "CSI: NY" (1.9/6), as the network finished third with a 1.7/5.

Thursday: The grill.
Friday: And fireworks!

For some families, more video watching on minivan backseat TV screens than at home in front of the set, as the three-day July Fourth weekend may mean some of the lowest ratings of the year.

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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
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