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U.S. Olympic trials, ‘America’s Got Talent’ lift NBC ratings

Howie Mandel, left, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell react while at the judges table on "America’s Got Talent."
Howie Mandel, left, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell in “America’s Got Talent” on NBC.
(Trae Patton/NBC)

The return of “America’s Got Talent” to its customary 8 p.m. time slot after a one-week absence was last week’s highest-rated prime-time program.

“America’s Got Talent” averaged 7.01 million viewers, its third first-place finish in the four full weeks of television’s summer season, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.

The one-hour version of the NBC competition series the previous week that began at 10 p.m. in most of the nation because of NBC’s coverage of the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, was 11th for the week, averaging 4.21 million viewers.

Sporting events accounted for seven of the top nine programs, led by NBC’s coverage of Sunday’s conclusion of the U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics trials, which finished second among prime-time programs airing between June 21 and Sunday, averaging 5.73 million viewers. Friday’s competition was ninth for the week, and first for the night, averaging 4.59 million viewers.

Five of the week’s eight prime-time programs to average more than 5 million viewers were NBA conference finals games, topped by TNT’s coverage of the Milwaukee Bucks’ 113-102 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, which averaged 5.6 million viewers Sunday, third for the week and first among cable programs.

The only other prime-time program to average more than 5 million viewers was “60 Minutes,” eighth for the week, averaging 5.04 million viewers. It began one hour, 14 minutes later than usual in the Eastern and Central time zones where the bulk of the nation’s population lives because of the runover of CBS’ coverage of the Travelers Championship, which ended with an eight-hole playoff.

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NBC won the network ratings race, averaging 3.5 million viewers. CBS was second, averaging 2.99 million, followed by ABC, which averaged 2.71 million viewers. Each aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.

Fox averaged 1.71 million viewers for its 16 hours, 16 minutes of prime-time programming, fourth among the five major English-language broadcast networks and seventh overall.

The CW again was fifth among the five major English-language broadcast networks, averaging 580,000 viewers for its 12 hours of programming.

“Celebrity Family Feud” was ABC’s biggest draw, averaging 4.38 million viewers, 10th for the week. The cooking competition “MasterChef” was Fox’s ratings leader program, averaging 2.82 million viewers, 40th overall.

The crime drama “Walker” was the CW’s top-ranked program for the third consecutive week, averaging 1.08 million viewers, 105th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.

The premiere of the ABC unscripted comedy about the lighter side of the natural world, “When Nature Calls With Helen Mirren,” was second in its Thursday 8-9 p.m. time slot and 15th for the week, averaging 3.7 million viewers.

The other premiere on the five major broadcast networks, the NBC quiz show, “College Bowl” was third in its Tuesday 10-11 p.m. time slot and 41st for the week, averaging 2.8 million viewers following “America’s Got Talent.”

Coverage of three games of the NBA’s Western Conference finals between the Clippers and Phoenix Suns enabled ESPN to edge TNT, 2.2 million-2.18 million to be the top-ranked cable network. Fox News Channel was third, averaging 2.15 million.

Thanks to the release of the final eight episodes of its fifth season, Netflix’s “Lucifer” topped the latest weekly list of the programs on the four streaming services whose viewership figures are announced by Nielsen.

Viewers spent 1.28 billion minutes between May 24-30 watching the series’ 83 episodes, including the eight that began streaming May 28. All of the top 10 programs were streamed on Netflix.


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