Country awards help CBS dominate ratings

Friday, April 17, 2015, Vol. 39, No. 16

NEW YORK (AP) — With Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan and Taylor Swift leading the way, country music helped CBS to a dominant week in the television ratings.

The Academy of Country Music Awards was seen by just under 16 million viewers, making it the most-watched program in the Nielsen company's weekly accounting of popular TV shows. Lambert won four awards, Bryan was named top entertainer and Swift accepted an award for her career's work presented by her mother, who recently announced she was battling cancer.

The ACM awards may have won the week, but finished just behind the yearly Country Music Association awards. That show, aired during a busier TV time in November, had 16.25 million viewers last year.

Nielsen's weekly list measures how many people watched a program live or before midnight on the same night, and doesn't include delayed viewing beyond that. That gives an edge to live programming like awards shows.

Fourteen of the 17 most-watched shows last week aired on CBS, Nielsen said.

ABC's "World News Tonight" defeated NBC's "Nightly News" in the ratings for the third straight week after ending an NBC winning streak that began in 2009. NBC News is still mulling the future of suspended "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams.

CBS averaged 9.6 million viewers in prime time. ABC was second with 6.1 million viewers, NBC had 5 million, Fox had 3.6 million, Univision had 2.5 million, the CW had 1.6 million, Telemundo had 1.3 million and ION Television had 1.1 million.

Fox News Channel was the most popular cable network on a week where Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio launched presidential bids, averaging 1.66 million viewers. USA had 1.64 million, the Disney Channel had 1.62 million, TBS had 1.61 million and TNT had 1.5 million.

ABC's "World News Tonight" averaged 7.9 million viewers last week, NBC's "Nightly News" had 7.7 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.8 million.

For the week of April 13-19, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "Academy of Country Music Awards," CBS, 15.98 million; "NCIS," CBS, 15.84 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 14.82 million; "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 14.4 million; "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 13.89 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 11.04 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 10.7 million; "Criminal Minds," CBS, 10.37 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 10 million; "The Odd Couple," CBS, 9.62 million.