NEW YORK (AP) - A strong finish to “Dancing With the Stars” keyed a second place showing in the Nielsen ratings over Thanksgiving week for ABC, which has quietly planted new seeds this fall in a prime-time lineup that needed turning over.
The final two episodes of “Dancing,” won this season by actor and Army veteran J.R. Martinez, were seen by just less than 20 million viewers last week, the Nielsen Co. said.
Meanwhile, the ABC dramas “Castle” and “Once Upon a Time” both finished among the 15 most-watched prime-time programs last week. “Once Upon a Time” debuted in October.
ABC has managed to slightly increase its viewership this season even though some of its aging stalwarts continue to fade. The “Desperate Housewives” audience is down 16 percent from last year, and the “Grey’s Anatomy” ratings are off 10 percent.
It has been offset by the improvement shown by relatively new shows like “Castle” (up 10 percent), “Modern Family” (up 14 percent), “The Middle” (up 10 percent) and “Happy Endings” (up 65 percent), Nielsen said.
New shows “Last Man Standing,” “Body of Proof” and “Suburgatory” may not qualify as hits yet, but all have increased the audience in their time slots over last season. “Once Upon a Time” has boosted ratings in its Sunday time slot by 60 percent.
For the week, CBS averaged 9.8 million viewers in prime time (6.0 rating, 10 share). ABC had 8.7 million (5.3, 9), NBC had 6 million (3.6, 6), Fox had 5.5 million (3.2, 5), the CW had 1.2 million (0.8, 1) and ION Television had 1.1 million (0.7, 1).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with a 3 million average (1.5, 3), Telemundo had 1.3 million (0.7, 1), TeleFutura had 620,000 (0.3, 1), Estrella had 270,000 and Azteca 180,000 (both 0.1, 0).
NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with its 9.9 million viewer average (6.4, 12). ABC’s “World News” was second with 8.3 million (5.5, 10) and the “CBS Evening News” had 7.1 million viewers (4.7, 8).
A ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 114.7 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For the week of Nov. 21-27, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Pittsburgh at Kansas City, NBC, 20.34 million; “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, 19.61 million; “Dancing With the Stars Results,” ABC, 19.56 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 18.5 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 16.98 million; “Two and a Half Men,” CBS, 15.82 million; “Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick,” NBC, 14.31 million; “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 14.1 million; “Mike & Molly,” CBS, 13.05 million; “Modern Family,” ABC, 12.72 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 Comcast Corp. 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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