Summer kicked into gear last night with the season premieres of NBC’s America’s Got Talent and Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen, the preview of Wipeout and the penultimate original episode of Fox’s Glee.
The Simon Cowell-produced America’s Got Talent returned with a new judge, Howie Mandel, who replaced David Hasselhoff, and an average of 3.6 rating/11 share and 12.3 million viewers overall from 8-10 PM. That was up 13% from last year’s debut. America’s Got Talent topped both the 8 PM and 9 PM hours, including beating Fox’s Glee in their first face-off. The premiere of NBC’s new reality series Losing It With Jillian (2.7/8, 6.7 million) at 10 PM lost 25% from its America’s Got Talent lead-in but still managed to win the hour in the 18-49 demo. (NBC also won the night in total viewers)
Fox topped the night in 18-49 with Hell’s Kitchen (2.9/9, 6.2 million), which was up 4% from last summer’s premiere, and Glee (3.8/11, 9.0 million), down 21% from its average behind American Idol but up 15% from its fall average when it aired without Idol lead-in.
ABC’s two-hour sneak peek of Wipeout (3.0/9, 8.3 million) from 8-10PM was down 9% from last summer’s opener but posted the network’s best non-sports summer numbers in the time slot in almost 2 years. The obstacle-course competition’s third season kicks off June 22. CBS and CW stayed largely out of contention with repeats.