Hoops bounces past swingers, slashers


In the battle of freshman scripted summer premieres, swingers trumped slashers Thursday night as the debut of CBS' period drama "Swingtown" won the 10 p.m. hour against NBC's horror anthology "Fear Itself."

Yet neither demonstrated breakout numbers in the face of ABC's airing of the NBA Finals.

Broadcast networks rarely debut scripted series post-season, but a trio are planned for this summer. In addition to "Swingtown" and "Fear," CBS' "Flashpoint" debuts July 11.

With cable network summer dramas gaining ground in the ratings, broadcasters have been trying to transition to a more year-round programming strategy.

In the case of the mildly risque "Swingtown," critics have speculated that CBS might be trying to quickly move past last season's experimental programming phase before launching its fall shows.

"Swingtown" (8.6 million viewers, 2.8 preliminary rating/8 share in adults 18-49) came in second in its time period, and "Fear" (5.3 million, 2.0/6) was third.

Both shows had the same lead-in rating of 2.3 (from a "CSI" repeat and an original "Last Comic Standing," respectively).

Part of the problem was that both shows premiered opposite Game 1 of the Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals (13.4 million, 5.4/17). (partialdiff)