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Ratings: ABC's 'Dancing with the Stars' debuts big, draws over 13 million viewers


By Reality TV World staff, 06/02/2005 

Defying most non-ABC expectations, ABC's quirky Dancing with the Stars delivered a big ratings performance in its Wednesday, June 1 premiere -- a performance that would appear to make it poised to become the first big ratings hit of the nascent summer television season.

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Airing in the Wednesday timeslot previously occupied by ABC's hit Lost series, Dancing with the Stars took full advantage of its jump on the summer programming season, averaging 13.5 million viewers and easily winning its 9-10PM ET/PT time period in most key demographics.

In addition to beating its nearest time period competition (NBC's the Eagles concert special) by 3.8 million viewers, Dancing with the Stars also won its time period by 19% in Adults 18-49 demographic (4.3/12 vs. 3.6/10) and ranked as the night's top ranked program among total viewers, Adults 18-34, and Adults 18-49.

The ballroom dancing competition series also grew its ratings strongly from its first half-hour to its second (adding over a million viewers in the process) -- indicating that unlike Britney Spears' new UPN reality show, viewers liked what they saw and are likely to tune back in again.

Dancing with the Stars' surprisingly strong debut ranked it as the most watched summer series premiere since CBS's smash-hit Survivor premiered back on May 31, 2000 and as the best Adults 18-49 summer debut since the NBC's Last Comics Standing premiered on June 10, 2003.

In an unusual bit of network candor, even the ABC executive responsible for the series had acknowledged odd nature of the series. "I am fully aware that this may sound like the craziest show anyone has ever heard of," ABC alternative programming executive vice president Andrea Wong had stated in the network's April announcement of the six-episode series.

"But in a world where it's easier for reality series to imitate than innovate, I just loved how fresh this format is. And the show's global success just shows how audiences around the world find it to be surprising, and undeniably fun," she added.

Although only time will tell, so far it looks like she's right (and if so, don't be surprised if the network airs a second six-episode Dancing with the Stars edition air later this summer.)

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