- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 8, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — One last time for old time’s sake: NBC’s “ER” landed among Nielsen Media Research’s 10 most popular shows with last week’s two-hour series finale, which was watched by 16.4 million people.

“ER” owned Nielsen’s top 10 list in its peak a decade ago, when it routinely had audiences twice the size.

The venerable medical drama — which signed off after a 15-year tun — knocked CBS’ “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” nearly 5 million viewers below its season average and left ABC with an audience below 5 million people for “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Yet despite the “ER” win, CBS dominated the prime-time landscape even more than usual last week.

The Academy of Country Music Awards, with former “American Idol” Carrie Underwood named entertainer of the year, had its biggest audience in a decade. CBS also did well with the April Fools’ Day special “I Get That a Lot.”

Meanwhile, “NCIS” continued its unusual resurgence in its sixth season. It was the most-watched scripted show of the week, and is up 29 percent over last season, Nielsen said.

In the cable world, CNBC’s Jim Cramer did not appear damaged by his public fight with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. Mr. Cramer, who is airing his 1,000th episode of “Mad Money” on Wednesday, saw his ratings go up 11 percent in March over February, and 11 percent over March 2008.

Overall, CBS averaged 12.5 million prime-time viewers last week. Fox was a distant second with 9.7 million, but beat CBS among the youthful demographic. ABC had 7.2 million viewers, and NBC had 6.9 million. Following were the CW with 2.1 million, its best showing since November; My Network TV with 1.6 million and ION Television with 550,000.

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with 4.2 million viewers, Telemundo had 1.3 million, TeleFutura 740,000 and Azteca had 170,000 (0.1, 0).

NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.7 million viewers. ABC’s “World News” was second with 8 million, and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.2 million viewers.

For the week of March 30 through April 5, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships were: 1) “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 24.4 million; 2) “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 24.3 million; 3) “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, 20.4 million; 4) “NCIS,” CBS, 17.2 million; 5) “The Mentalist,” CBS, 16.9 million; 6) “ER,” NBC, 16.3 million; 7) “Academy of Country Music Awards,” CBS, 14.7 million; 8) “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 14.6 million; 9) “Two and a Half Men,” CBS, 14.5 million; and 10) NCAA Men’s Basketball Semifinals: Villanova vs. North Carolina, 14.4 million.

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