''Dancing With the Stars'' is week's top show. ABC waltzes into second place with new reality hit

The keys to summer ratings success: Apparently, you need either less-than-graceful celebrities, basketball, or an actor involved in a surprise celebrity breakup. Last week’s No. 2 show, Dancing With the Stars, stepped up to No. 1 this week, drawing 15.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen. ABC also scored with Brad Pitt’s Primetime Live interview (No. 5, 11.2 million viewers), and with the first two games of the NBA finals (No. 8 and No. 9, drawing about 10.6 million each). Meanwhile, on CBS, Charlie Sheen fans placed four of five consecutive episodes of a Two and a Half Men marathon in the top 10.

In the end, it was the CBS ma-Sheen that prevailed, with the network averaging 7.9 million viewers for the week. ABC had to settle for second place with 6.8 million. NBC, which placed three Law & Order episodes and one Crossing Jordan in the top 20, finished third for the week with 6.5 million. Fox’s slate, whose highlight was the second episode of Hell’s Kitchen (No. 33, 7 million), finished fourth with an average of 5.3 million. UPN averaged 2.8 million to the WB’s 2.3 million.

Dancing with the Stars is such an out-of-the-box hit that Fox is already planning a similar show, Skating with Celebrities. ”If it’s interesting to see celebrities master ballroom dancing,” Fox reality VP Mike Darnell told Variety, ”it’s going to be incredibly interesting to see if they can master a double axel and a spin.”

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Dancing With the Stars
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