David Bauder
David is a national media writer.

Carry a tune? You can make it in ratings

February 14, 2012 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — Success in prime-time television increasingly requires the ability to carry a tune.

Led by the extraordinary ratings for Sunday’s Grammy Awards, the Nielsen company said most-watched television programs on four of the seven days last week were music-oriented.

NBC’s “The Voice,” buoyed by its post-Super Bowl success, had the biggest audience on Monday, a night CBS usually dominates. Fox’s “American Idol” was the top show on both Wednesday and Thursday. Fox’s “Glee” did well on Tuesday night, although three other broadcast programs did better.

The Grammy ratings were the biggest stunner. Just under 40 million people watched Adele get the biggest awards, an audience size topped only in 1984 when Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was named top album.

The Grammys, which had a bigger audience than the Academy Awards last year, benefited from a star who had the year’s biggest-selling and critically-acclaimed album who was also making her first appearance after being quieted by surgery. It was reminiscent of the year “The Titanic” brought an unusually large audience to the Oscars.


Add in curiosity about how the music community would respond to Whitney Houston’s death, and you have all the ingredients for a monster success. In 2011, the Grammys were seen by 26.7 million.

It was the fourth straight year in which the Grammy audience has grown for CBS, starting with the 17.1 million people watching in 2008. Grammy organizers have deemphasized the awards to make the annual event more of a performance show, drawing many of the biggest names in the industry.

CBS averaged 15.4 million viewers in prime-time last week (9.2 rating, 15 share), its best week in more than a year. Fox averaged 7 million viewers (4.1, 6), ABC had 6.5 million (4.1, 7), NBC had 6.4 million (4.0, 6), the CW had 15.5 million (1.0, 2) and ION Television had 1.1 million (0.7, 1).

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with 3.6 million viewers (1.8, 3), Telemundo had 1.1 million (0.6, 1), TeleFutura had 750,000 (0.4, 1), Estrella had 200,000 and Azteca 160,000 (both 0.1, 0).

NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.5 million viewers (6.3, 12). ABC’s “World News” was second with 8 million (5.3, 10) and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.6 million viewers (4.5, 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 Feb. 6-12, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “Grammy Awards,” CBS, 39.91 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 20.98 million; “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 19.33 million; “American Idol” (Thursday), Fox, 18.13 million; “The Voice,” NBC, 17.84 million; “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 16.27 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 16.21 million; “Person of Interest,” CBS, 15.14 million; “The Mentalist,” CBS, 14.68 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 14.25 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.