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July 09, 2008

'Hell's Kitchen' finale tops Tuesday; 'Wipeout' surges

Tuesday night's finale of "Hell's Kitchen" won the night as expected, but was nearly bested by a surprising surge from ABC's "Wipeout."

"Hell's" (8.8 million, 4.1/11) grew 11% from last week's episode to easily win the 9 p.m. hour. Though the episode topped the highest-rated season of "Hell's" yet, it was down slightly from last year's finale. The show's conclusion shocked fans, with young Tracy Flick-like culinary student Christina beating the experienced and likable Petrozza (a video clip of Christina winning is below). The season finale of "Moment of Truth" (5 million, 2.0/6) served as a lead-in and ranked second in the hour.

A voiceover at the conclusion of the "Truth" finale said next season will feature celebrities in addition to regular contestants. A Fox spokesman said no other info is yet available.

ABC tied Fox in the demo, fueled by the strength of 8 p.m.'s "Wipeout" (10.6 million, 4.0/13). The obstacle course reality show, now in its third week, had dipped slightly after its premiere, suggesting the show might gradually settle in the Nielsens. But last night, "Wipeout" leapt to score its highest rating yet by a significant margin.

The "Wipeout" growth also aided ABC's "I Survived a Japanese Game Show" (6.8 million, 2.8/8), which was up 8% from last week. At 10 p.m., "Primetime: The Outsiders" (7.1 million, 2.3/6) won its hour with a 15% gain from last week.

NBC was second in the demo yet led among total viewers (averaging 9 million, 2.5/7). In third, CBS aired repeats (averaging 7.4 million, 1.5/4).


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