''Dancing With the Stars'' is biggest summer debut since ''Survivor.'' The ABC premiere scores 13.5 million viewers, the most for any new summer series in five years

By Gary Susman
Updated June 03, 2005 at 12:00 PM EDT

If Disney is Walt’s house, then the company’s broadcast network, ABC, is now Waltz House. The network extended its hot comeback streak into the summer with Wednesday’s premiere of Dancing With the Stars. The celebreality show stepped off with 13.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen, making it the most-watched debut of a summer series since the first Survivor five years ago. It was also the best summer showing for ABC in the Wednesday 9-10 time slot since 1996.

Other new reality shows this week found bragging rights where they could. NBC’s Hit Me Baby One More Time, with its parade of comeback-seeking pop stars, drew 8.6 million to NBC, winning Thursday night among the coveted 18-to-49 demographic and marking the best summer reality debut among that age group since NBC’s own Last Comic Standing two years ago. Over on the WB, Ashton Kutcher’s Beauty and the Geek did moderately well, drawing 3.2 million viewers to Wednesday’s premiere, scoring well among viewers under 34, and improving the network’s numbers in the Wednesday 8 p.m. time slot over last summer. Maybe the show’s beauties and geeks would draw more viewers if they learned the cha-cha.

Episode Recaps


Dancing With the Stars

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  • ABC