In the battle of the dueling lyric game shows, NBC set the bar insanely high last night with its “Singing Bee” premiere garnering a 5.0 rating among adults 18 to 49—the highest summer series premiere on any network since 2002.
Fox (with “Don’t Forget the Lyrics!”) and NBC (with “Bee”) recently jockeyed for schedule positions, complete with executive verbal jousting and NBC leapfrogging over Fox to air first by a single day. Moving up the “Bee” production schedule meant scrambling to sign a host, with NBC settling on former N’Sync performer Joey Fatone.
New NBC co-chair Ben Silverman’s first choice, however, was Ellen DeGeneres, sources said.
Silverman pursued the daytime talk host for “Bee,” but she proved too expensive. Second choice was Rosie O’Donnell as part of the odd lets-offer-Rosie-everything fever that recently swept broadcast networks. Given he nailed a 5.0 rating with a host that likely had a bargain price tag, Silverman could have the last laugh here (unless the critics are right).
The entire six-episode “Bee” order has been shot, and production companies Juma Entertainment and The Gurin Company are doubtlessly waiting by the phone for an additional order should next week’s episode retain the bulk of the premiere number.
For the night, NBC very narrowly beat Fox, which had the MLB All-Star Game (3.6, down from last year, which might change in the nationals). Also: NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” was on par (3.8); CBS’s “Big Brother” time-period premiere dipped slightly compared to last year to 2.5; “Pirate Master” lost a large portion of its “Brother” lead-in in its new 10 p.m. slot (1.5); ABC’s “Shaq’s Big Challenge” dropped week-to-week and came in fourth place for the hour (1.5).
[Check it out: TV Week]