While Republican convention speakers used their TV time last week to urge voters to pick elephants over donkeys, viewers ultimately preferred lions. In a week where the GOP convention was just one more TV program that network viewers largely ignored, the most-watched show was the premiere of Father of the Pride. NBC’s animated series about Siegfriend & Roy’s menagerie drew 12.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen. Apparently, those endless Olympic promos paid off; the debut of NBC’s Hawaii also scored well (No. 4 for the week, 10.9 million viewers). Whether viewers will stick with these shows is another matter (this week, Pride fell to 9.6 million and Hawaii to 9.9 million), but last week, they were enough to boost NBC to a win in the weekly Nielsen race, averaging 7.5 million viewers for the week ending Sept. 5.
CBS saw its airing of the Latin Grammy Awards fall to a new low (3.3 million viewers, the fewest in the show’s five-year history), but it still landed six shows in the top 10 and finished the week with an average of 7.2 million. ABC, scoring a rare top 10 show with a Tennessee vs. Dallas preseason NFL football game (No. 3, 11 million), finished third for the week with an average of 6.1 million.
In the battle of the boxing reality shows, Fox beat NBC to the punch, both in court and on the schedule, and got its The Next Great Champ onto the air well before NBC’s The Contender. Nonetheless, Champ‘s first round last week drew only 5.2 million viewers in a timeslot opposite Pride and CBS’ Big Brother 5. Fox’s other big debut, home renovation show The Complex: Malibu, drew less than half that number, just 2.3 million. The network finished fourth for the week with 5.1 million viewers on average. On the netlets, UPN beat the WB 2.4 million to 2.1 million.