Viewers stick to reliable reruns, shun summer shows

Television

August 08, 2004|By Knight Ridder / Tribune

Big broadcast networks' much-vaunted summer season seems to be leaving audiences cold. Despite a flurry of new programming for the hot-weather months, reruns of regular-season shows are drawing the lion's share of summer viewing.

What's the most-watched show this summer?

Not one of those new programs, but rather reruns of CBS' regular-season hit CSI. While CSI is drawing about 10 million fewer viewers than during the regular season, with a summer audience of 14.4 million viewers, it's the most-watched series since the regular season ended in May.

And it has a lot of company.

Nine of the top-rated shows this summer are reruns of regular-season programs. The lone exception is CBS' Amazing Race 5, at No. 9, which routinely has done well in the past.

The rest of the top five shows in the ratings (all on CBS) are, in descending order: Without a Trace, CSI: Miami, Two and a Half Men and Everybody Loves Raymond. Two and a Half Men, which stars Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer, is network TV's top-drawing comedy this summer.

"It seems like people are finding the show who didn't see it the first time," said executive producer Chuck Lorre. "We don't take it for granted. It's a very hard thing to do anymore."

After Amazing Race 5, the highest-ranked new show of the summer has been Fox's The Simple Life 2, which is No. 12 overall, followed by Tuesday's telecasts of CBS' Big Brother 5 at No. 13.

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