BET Awards with Jackson tribute, plus Jon & Kate, show cable TV’s competitive strength

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

BET Awards, Jon & Kate make cable competitive

NEW YORK — The BET Awards, which turned into a tribute to Michael Jackson on Sunday night, drew 10.7 million viewers to rank as the most-watched program on a cable network this year.

It narrowly beat out last week’s divorce episode of TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” which had 10.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Perhaps more starkly than ever before, last week’s Nielsen ratings show how the distinction between broadcast and cable TV is crumbling. The BET Awards and “Jon & Kate Plus 8″ each had larger audiences than all but two prime-time programs on broadcast television last week.

The Disney Channel’s “Princess Protection Program” movie debuted Friday to 8.5 million viewers, which also would have ranked among Nielsen’s top 10 broadcast programs.

The audience for the BET Awards was easily the biggest in the history of the event, which began in 2001. It has reached as many as 6.6 million viewers in 2006.

“It meant so much to all of us to be there for our audience at this emotional time,” said Debra Lee, chairwoman of BET Networks.

The premiere of “America’s Got Talent” on NBC was the week’s most popular show. NBC’s summer drama “Philanthropist” also had a respectable showing with 7.1 million people watching its premiere.

Still, CBS won the week on the strength of their drama reruns, averaging 6.5 million viewers (4.3 rating, 8 share). NBC had 5.5 million viewers (3.6, 7), and narrowly won among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic it seeks. ABC had 4.5 million (2.9, 5), Fox 4.2 million (2.6, 5), My Network TV 1.3 million (0.8, 2), the CW 920,000 (0.6, 1) and ION Television 700,000 (0.5, 1).

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with 3.3 million prime-time viewers (1.7 rating, 3 share), Telemundo had 1.33 million (0.6, 1), TeleFutura 680,000 (0.3, 1) and Azteca 160,000 (0.1, 0).

NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.4 million viewers (5.6 rating, 12 share). ABC’s “World News” was second with 7 million (4.7, 10) and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.6 million viewers (3.7, 8).

A ratings point represents 1,145,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 114.5 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of June 22-28, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “America’s Got Talent” (Tuesday), NBC, 11.46 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 11.09 million; “America’s Got Talent” (Wednesday), NBC, 10.4 million; “The Mentalist,” CBS, 9.1 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 8.79 million; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 8.74 million; “Two and a Half Men,” CBS, 8.69 million; “20/20 Special Edition” (Thursday), ABC, 8.17 million; “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 8.01 million; “Wipeout,” ABC, 7.8 million.

ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox and My Network TV are units of News Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by General Electric Co. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. TeleFutura is a division of Univision. Azteca America is a wholly owned subsidiary of TV Azteca S.A. de C.V.

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