- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — Stars and would-be stars dominated the prime-time landscape.

The annual Academy Awards presentation drew 36.3 million viewers to ABC on Sunday night. It was the most-watched entertainment program on television in two years and a rebound of 4 million viewers from last year’s least- popular Oscars ever.

Fans tuned up for the Oscars by gawking at gowns and tuxes on ABC’s red-carpet special, which was seen by 24.4 million people, Nielsen Media Research said Tuesday.

The grand entrances seem to have usurped Barbara Walters’ annual special as an anticipated event. Miss Walters’ special, which faced expanded red-carpet coverage on other networks, was seen by 11.5 million people. Her guests were Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Mickey Rourke and the Jonas Brothers.

The would-be stars? The contestants on “American Idol,” of course. Fox’s powerful talent show was seen by 25.4 million and 24.8 million on its two nights last week, Nielsen said.

It was another tough week for NBC. The fourth-place network had no show with more than 10 million viewers, and its most popular entrant last week, “Law & Order: SVU,” was ranked No. 25 for the week.

Fox won a competitive week with an average of 11.8 million viewers (6.9 rating, 11 share). ABC had 11.1 million (6.8, 11); CBS had a rare third-place showing with a 10.2 million viewers average (6.4, 10); NBC, 6.2 million (3.9, 6); My Network, 1.5 million (0.9, 1); the CW, 1.2 million (0.8, 1); and ION Television, 620,000 (0.4, 1).

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led the way with 4.3 million viewers (2.1 average, 3 share). Telemundo had 1.2 million (0.6, 1); TeleFutura, 730,000 (0.6, 1); and Azteca, 190,000 (0.1, 0).

“NBC Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 10 million viewers (6.5, 12). ABC’s “World News” was second with 8.4 million (5.7, 11), and “CBS Evening News” had 6.7 million viewers (4.5, 9).

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 Feb. 16-22, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “Academy Awards,” ABC, 36.31 million; “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 25.37 million; “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 24.79 million; “Oscar’s Red Carpet 2009,” ABC, 24.36 million; “The Mentalist,” CBS, 18.23 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 18.06 million; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 16.92 million; “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 15.57 million; “Criminal Minds,” CBS, 14.54 million; and “House,” Fox, 14.2 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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