Late-night celebration nabbed its largest gathering ever

More viewers stayed up late with Dick Clark on New Year’s Eve this time around than any time during the ABC perennial’s 29-year history. In fact, Clark’s ball-dropping coverage drew a larger audience than anything that aired in primetime during the same week.

According to national ratings issued Friday by Nielsen, the 2000 edition of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” (11:35 p.m. to 12:29 a.m.) averaged 23.2 million viewers — its largest gathering ever. It also delivered the program’s largest adults 25-54 audience ever (12.3 million viewers) as well as its largest 18-49 showing (11.7 million) since 1990.

In overall audience, “Rockin’ Eve’s” viewers bests by more than 4 million the most-watched program in primetime during the Dec. 25-31 week (18.9 million for a Tuesday episode of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”)

Among the musical guests performing on the show were Boys II Men, 98 Degrees and Third Eye Blind.

The late segment of “Rockin’ Eve” (1:05-2:02 a.m.) also produced its largest audience and best demos ever, including an overall average crowd of 6.2 million viewers.

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