Rock-hosted show averaged 10.71 mil, 10% below 2002

Thursday’s telecast of the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, which generated more news for its Madonna-Britney Spears liplock than anything else, was down in the ratings vs. last year but was still the night’s top draw in key demos.

According to Nielsen, an average of 10.71 million viewers for its three hours, a 10% decline from last year’s record-setting 11.95 million and the fourth-largest aud for the event in its 10-year history. Among all cable telecasts this year, it ranks second to TNT’s coverage of the NBA All-Star Game in February (10.83 million).

Kudocast, hosted by Chris Rock, was easily Thursday’s top-rated program among adults 18-49 (5.5/17), adults 18-34 (7.6/26) and teens (8.3/31).

Show held up well among femmes, with its women 18-49 rating (6.5/19) an all-time best and its women 18-34 score (9.2/28) tying its record high, set last year. A big slate of NFL preseason games in many key cities may have been to blame for a 25% year-to-year decline in men 18-34 (to 5.9/23).

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