NEW YORK (AP) – Fox is preaching patience as its attempt to run more original summer programming has yet to be embraced by viewers.

The network finished fourth in the ratings last week, behind even ABC, which Fox routinely beat during the winter months. Fox came in third among viewers aged 18 to 49, the demographic it most cares about.

Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie’s “The Simple Life 2,” which finished just out of Nielsen Media Research’s top 10 last week with 9.3 million viewers, is Fox’s summer highlight.

None of Fox’s five other new shows are doing well, including the one by usually reliable reality producer Mark Burnett. His look at Las Vegas in “Casino” was seen by fewer than 5 million people last week.

Perhaps most disappointing is “North Shore,” a soap about young workers at a luxury hotel in Hawaii. Fox hoped it would catch on as “The O.C.” did last summer, but it drew 4.4 million viewers last week.

Fox was hoping to catch attention in the summer, saying it was no longer a time it would subject viewers to a steady diet of reruns.

“While we’re seeing the shows come out of the gate slowly, we are seeing growth in virtually every show each week and we’re optimistic,” said Fox spokesman Scott Grogin. “You can’t start an entirely new way of programming a network and expect it to come out of the gate like gangbusters, especially in the summer.”

While the shows’ numbers are small, Fox is taking some solace in the fact that they’re not dropping much week to week, so they may have potential to build.

Fox has no plans to change its schedule, Grogin said.

Otherwise, viewers enjoyed the American Film Institute’s salute to Hollywood music. The CBS special was the week’s No. 3 show, with 12.3 million viewers.

CBS won the week, averaging 8.8 million viewers (6.1 rating, 11 share). NBC was second with 7.2 million viewers (4.9, 9) and won among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic. ABC averaged 5 million viewers (3.4, 6), Fox had 4.8 million (3.1, 6), UPN 2.4 million (1.7, 3), the WB 2.3 million (1.6, 3) and Pax TV 920,000 (0.6, 1)

NBC’s “Nightly News” won the evening news ratings race, averaging 8.6 million viewers (6.1 rating, 13 share). ABC’s “World News Tonight” had 8.1 million (5.7, 12) and the “CBS Evening News” 6.7 million (4.8, 10).

A ratings point represents 1,084,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 108.4 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of June 21-27, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 15.3 million; “Without a Trace,” CBS, 12.6 million; “American Film Institute’s 100 Years and 100 Songs,” CBS, 12.3 million; “Law & Order,” NBC, 11.9 million; “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 11.8 million; “Two and a Half Men,” CBS, 11.3 million; “Everybody Loves Raymond,” CBS, 11.3 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 10.9 million; “Cold Case,” CBS, 10.2 million; “Law & Order” special, NBC, 10.1 million.

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AP-ES-06-29-04 1456EDT

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