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Summer reality shows lead but don’t dominate top 20

This summer, TV ratings “are up slightly, reversing years of declines, even as basic cable continues to grow with more original series,” USA TODAY reports. Reality TV leads those shows on broadcast, as “ABC’s Wipeout is the lone new broadcast hit,” but not on cable.

Of the top 20 shows, just three are reality series, but they all fall in the top five. America’s Got Talent is the summer’s most-popular show, scripted or not, with 13.2 million viewers last week. ABC’s ridiculously fun but completely pointless obstacle course series Wipeout was number two last week with 10 million viewers.

Fox’s actual talent competition So You Think You Can Dance 4 was fifth with 8.6 million viewers last week for the Wednesday performance edition; the Thursday results show tied for seventh with 8.4 million people. Big Brother didn’t crack the top 20 among overall viewers.

However, among the youngins, people ages 18 to 49, things shift around a bit. Wipeout landed in first place, followed by America’s Got Talent in second. So You Think You Can Dance came in fourth and fifth, with Big Brother 10‘s Tuesday episode tying for 10, Wednesday tying for 12, and Sunday tying for 16th place with 2.7 million viewers in the demo.

On cable, just one reality series landed among mostly scripted dramas. That was the record-breaking finale of The Next Food Network Star 4.

Summer TV ratings? Don’t sweat it, Network top 20, Among ages 18-49 , and Cable top 15 [USA TODAY]

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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