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Reality dominates summer TV in Adults 18-49 demographic ratings


By Wade Paulsen, 09/02/2003 

The Hollywood Reporter reports that reality TV dominated in the Nielsen ratings among viewers 18-49 during the summer of 2003 ... but that scripted TV continued to reign among older viewers.

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The top 5 in ratings in the 18-49 demographic over the summer were as follows:

1.(tie) For Love Or Money 1 (NBC) 4.6/13
1.(tie) CSI (CBS)
3. For Love Or Money 2 (NBC) 4.1/11
4.(tie) Meet My Folks (NBC) 3.9/
4.(tie) Who Wants to Marry My Dad? (NBC)
4.(tie) Big Brother 4 (Wednesday) (CBS)
4.(tie) Friends (NBC)

Thus, 5 of the top 7 in the 18-49 demographic are reality shows ... and 4 of those shows ran on NBC. In addition, three other reality shows made the Top 15 for the summer: Last Comic Standing (NBC), The Restaurant (NBC) and Big Brother 4 (Tuesday) (CBS), giving NBC 6 reality winners for the summer against one for CBS (albeit on two different nights) and none for Fox or ABC.

Not one of the reality shows cracked the Top 10 overall, though -- For Love Or Money 1 led the pack at #11. Nevertheless, since advertisers focus on the 18-49 demographic, it looks like NBC's strategy for a reality-show-filled summer succeeded, and NBC's Jeff Zucker outfoxed CBS's Les Moonves, who had mockingly described NBC's strategy as "let's take eight reality shows, throw them up against the wall and maybe something will stick." We think that, had Les Moonves known that such a high percentage would stick, he might have copied NBC's strategy himself, instead of limiting himself to one hit, one moderate performer (The Amazing Race 4), and one underperformer (Cupid).

NBC, of course, wasn't perfect, as it also aired both Fame and Race for the Altar. Nevertheless, the major disappointment was reality leader Fox, which claims to be happy with the mediocre performance of Paradise Hotel ... and which finally had to cancel the flop spin-off American Juniors.

ABC ... well, the less said about The Real Roseanne Show, the better.

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