After slow but steady erosion in recent years, the American Music Awards -- with MTV's first family serving as hosts -- took a steep dive Monday, as viewing dropped almost 20% versus last year, against competition that included Fox's staged reality show "Joe Millionaire."
Tune-in for ABC's three-hour music special averaged just 12.9 million viewers, down from 16 million in 2002. By way of comparison, "Joe Millionaire" averaged 17.5 million in its hour, a modest 5% decline from the Jan. 6 premiere.
With the music awards drawing lackluster ratings and CBS' "CSI: Miami" airing a rerun, NBC's "Crossing Jordan" perked up with a season-high 13.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research estimates released Tuesday.
Last week's episode of "The Osbournes," by the way, tallied just 3.9 million viewers on MTV, well below the program's first-season peak.