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TV ratings: Billboard Music Awards hit 13-year viewership high

TV ratings: Billboard Music Awards hit 13-year viewership high
A holographic image of Michael Jackson performs onstage during the 2014 Billboard Music Awards. (Kevin Winter/ Billboard Awards 2014 / Getty Images for DCP)

The Billboard Music Awards had the King of Pop and earned the ratings crown Sunday night. 

The awards gala, which featured a performance from a hologram of the late Michael Jackson, hit a 13-year viewership high of 10.5 million people, according to early numbers from Nielsen. That made it the most-watched telecast of the night, improving on last year's airing that averaged 9.5 million viewers.

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Highlights included the Jackson hologram's presentation of the song "Slave to the Rhythm" from his posthumously released album "Xscape," plus a performance by Jennifer Lopez. "Not A Bad Thing" singer Justin Timberlake took home top album honors. 

Among key 18- to 49-year-olds, the three-hour telecast scored a rating of 3.5, which is in line with last year. A ratings point in the 18-to-49 demographic equals roughly 1.3 million viewers.

Adding in results from the season finale of "America's Funniest Home Videos," (6.6 million viewers, 1.6 in the 18-to-49 demographic), ABC beat its rival networks in prime time, averaging a 3.0 in 18-49 and a 9.5 million viewers overall. 

Second place went to CBS, featuring season finales from "Amazing Race," "The Good Wife" and "The Mentalist," which were all down from their season closers about a year ago. "Amazing Race" and "The Good Wife" were flat week-to-week at a 1.7 and a 1.2, respectively, though "The Mentalist's" 1.5 was 25% better than a week ago. 

For the night, CBS averaged 9.2 million viewers total and a 1.4 in the key demographic.

Fox's animation-dominated lineup and the science documentary program "Cosmos" were little changed this week. 

NBC had weak results across the board, starting with a Coldplay music special at 7 p.m. that mustered 1.7 million viewers and a 0.4 in the key demo, followed by similar numbers for the reality show "American Dream Builders." A "Saturday Night Live" special managed a 0.8 among young adults and 2.5 million viewers. 

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