America’s Got Talent, Wipeout lead summer shows

It’s officially summer, and reality TV shows are ruling on broadcast TV. Eight of the the top 20 series last week were reality shows, and two others are game shows. Among the top 20 are led by reality.

The summer is being led by America’s Got Talent 3, which last week averaged 11.7 million viewers. Interestingly, the show was the only reality series to place in the top 10 among viewers over the age of 50. Old people love their variety shows and/or David Hasselhoff. That’s why it’s only the fourth most-popular show among younger viewers.

In second place is ABC’s new show Wipeout, which had 10 million viewers last week, all of whom probably tuned in only to see people bounce dramatically off large rubber balls and splash into water. It had the largest debut this summer among people 18 to 49, and was the number-one show in that demographic last week.

So You Think You Can Dance‘s results shows was in sixth place last week, with 8.6 million viewers, which is odd because only 8.3 million tuned in to watch the actual dancing on Wednesday, making the performance show the eight most-popular show. However, among viewers 18 to 49, the performance show was #3 for the week, while the results show was #6. In other words, old people skew the ratings by tuning in only for the results.

ABC’s debut of its competition I Survived a Japanese Game Show came in at 10, but fifth among 18-49ers, while Hell’s Kitchen was 14 with 7.8 million viewers, although it’s the #2 show among viewers 18 to 49. Its overall ratings are down significantly from the 12.6 million who watched the first episode, although that also followed an episode of American Idol.

NBC’s debut of Baby Borrowers was 11 with 7.95 million viewers, and “gave the [network] its top series rating in the time period in six months,” according to Variety. It’s eighth among viewers 18 to 49. Rounding out the reality shows in the top 20 is The Bachelorette 4, which ends next Monday; 7.5 million watched last week, with enough 18 to 49 viewers to land it in ninth place in that demographic.

Nielsen Ratings Top 20: America’s Got Talent and Wipeout [TVBytheNumbers]
Network top 20 and Spotlight: Tops among ages 50+ [USA TODAY]
Reality boosts networks [Variety]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.