'Baby' boom for Peacock


The Wednesday night debut of NBC's "The Baby Borrowers" burst the network's run of disappointing summer series premieres. The reality show-as-life-lesson series was NBC's best freshman series debut in months and garnered the network's highest nonsports rating in its time period since January.

"Baby" (7.8 million viewers and a preliminary 2.8 rating/8 share in adults 18-49) clocked in with a solid second-place finish at 9 p.m., just a couple tenths behind Fox's night-topping "So You Think You Can Dance" (8.2 million, 3.0/10). Plus, "Baby" grew 11% in its second half. "Deal or No Deal" (6.6 million, 1.6/6) served as lead-in, and a stable "Celebrity Circus" (5.7 million, 2.0/6) followed, with "Circus" winning its 10 p.m. period.

Instead of shifting "Baby" to 8 p.m. next week as planned, NBC said Thursday that it will keep the show in the more competitive 9 p.m. hour and use last week's episode as a repeat lead-in.

The "Baby" premiere pop is apt since NBC adopted a baby-steps programming strategy to improve its standings this summer leading into its presentation of the Summer Olympics in August. (partialdiff)