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June 25, 2008

ABC's 'Wipeout' is summer's highest new series debut

Wipeout_250_2 "Wipeout" did everything but.

"America's Got Talent" was bested by "America's Got a Minor Concussion" as ABC's wacky obstacle course series scored the highest premiere rating of any new show this summer.

"Wipeout" (10 million viewers, 3.7 adults 18-49 rating and a 12 share) bested usual Tuesday night leader "Hell's Kitchen" (7.7 million, 3.6/10) in the national Nielsen ratings to lead the night in the demo. That makes "Wipeout" the top-rated freshman summer series premiere since NBC's "The Singing Bee" last July.

The "Wipeout" premiere also brought some water to ABC's summer reality ratings desert, marking the network's strongest post-season debut in three years -- since 2005's "Brat Camp."

ABC's other reality debut, "I Survived a Japanese Game Show" (8 million, 3.1/9), also performed  well, placing second to "Kitchen" at 9 p.m. and tying the first hour of NBC's "America's Got Talent" (11.5 million, 3.0/9).

"Wipeout" was predicted to surprise in the ratings for its debut on this hotly contested Tuesday night. But will the show hold up next week? One competitor says, "once you've seen 'Wipeout,' you've seen it, so what more is there?" Yet what's interesting in last night's report is that "Wipeout" actually grew 28% during its hour, while "Japanese Game Show" dropped 15%, suggesting that game show contestants face planting on bouncy balls might have primetime legs (here's Barry Garron's just-posted "Wipeout" review). 

NBC placed second for the night and also had an unscripted series debut last night, "Celebrity Family Feud" (8.8 million, 2.3/8), which premiered against "Wipeout." "Feud" grew during its hour to place second at 8 p.m.

"Got Talent" dropped 19% in its second week but still managed to clock as Tuesday's most-watched show.

Overall, ABC won (averaging 8.2 million, 3.1/9) with the reality shows and the premiere of "Primetime: The Outsiders" (6.6 million, 2.5/7). NBC was second (averaging 10.6 million, 2.8/8). Fox came in third (averaging 5.5 million, 2.4/7), with a repeat of "Hell's Kitchen" subbing for usual 8 p.m occupant "Moment of Truth." CBS (averaging 7.3 million, 1.4/4) and the CW (1.4 million, 0.6/2) were fourth and fifth, respectively, with repeats. [Note: This story was updated with national ratings, which shifted slightly from the preliminaries this morning].

Meanwhile on cable: The BET Awards, which aired live at 8 p.m. Tuesday, averaged 5.8 million total viewers, including 3.2 million adults 18-49. That’s off from last year’s edition, which averaged 6.4 million total viewers, including 3.6 million in the demo.

For those who missed "Japanese Game Show," here are some clips below (for clips of "Wipeout," go here):


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