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Prime-time Tv Rankings

The award for week's leader goes to Fox

February 25, 2009|City News Service

A 13% increase in viewership for the Academy Awards wasn't enough for ABC to stop Fox Broadcasting from finishing first in the prime-time television ratings during Oscar week for the fourth consecutive year.

With the week's two "American Idol" broadcasts finishing second and third behind the Academy Awards, Fox averaged 11.84 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Feb. 16 and Sunday, according to figures released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. ABC was second, averaging 11.14 million viewers, the closest it has been to Fox during an Oscar week since 2005.

Despite the increase from last year's record low, the average audience of 36.31 million for Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony was the third lowest since individual viewership figures began being compiled in 1974, ahead only of last year's 32.01 million and the 33.04 million for the 2003 ceremony.

ABC's increased viewership wasn't confined just to Oscar night. Its dating series "The Bachelor" continued its resurgence with its largest nonfinale audience since Nov. 5, 2003, 12.52 million, finishing 13th for the week. Viewership for "The Bachelor" has grown in each of the six weeks since its premiere.

CBS finished third for the week, averaging 10.19 million viewers, and had the week's three most-watched scripted series: "The Mentalist," "NCIS" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

Fox finished first among viewers ages 18 to 49, the group for which advertisers pay a premium.

The final 68-minute segment of USA's "Monday Night Raw" pro wrestling telecast was the week's most-watched cable program, averaging 6.40 million viewers, which would have placed it 49th among the programs shown on the five major broadcast networks. USA had six of the seven most-watched prime-time cable programs of the week to be the No. 1 cable network for the seventh consecutive week.

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