ABC Cuts In: 'Dancing' Racks Up No. 1 Summer Ratings

By John Maynard
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 13, 2005

"Dancing With the Stars" capped its short summer run last week with its biggest television audience ever and secured the title of most-watched summer series since the first season of "Survivor" in 2000.

The ABC ballroom dancing competition show, which "General Hospital" star Kelly Monaco and her partner, Alec Mazo, won with a sizzling samba, drew a series-high 22.4 million viewers last Wednesday.

The competition's six-episode run averaged nearly 17 million viewers compared with the 28 million averaged by CBS's mega-hit "Survivor" in its memorable debut run.

Otherwise, television viewing was down during the July Fourth holiday week, with only four shows cracking the 10 million mark.

The premiere of the sixth installment of "Big Brother" on Thursday averaged 8.5 million voyeurs. It was one of the show's smallest premieres, down about 1 million viewers from last summer's "BB5" debut. Still, CBS outperformed all other networks in the 8 p.m. time period.

"Monk" made a splash in its return on USA Network. The fourth season premiere of the detective series starring Tony Shalhoub, which introduced "Seinfeld" alum Jason Alexander as Monk's new rival, scored its biggest number ever Friday night. With nearly 6.5 million viewers, "Monk" outdrew CBS and NBC in the 10 p.m. time slot and was about 300,000 viewers shy of ABC's "20/20" audience.

It was the cable network's most-watched show of the year.

The week's 10 most-watched programs, in order, were: ABC's "Dancing With the Stars"; CBS's "C.S.I." and "Without a Trace"; ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" repeat; CBS's "CSI: NY" and "60 Minutes"; NBC's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"; CBS's "Big Brother 6"; and NBC's "Crossing Jordan."

© 2005 The Washington Post Company