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Starry ‘BET Awards’ brings record ratings

'Real World,' 'Nip/Tuck' chalk up 3 mil viewers

NEW YORK — Led by Janet Jackson, Beyonce, OutKast and Alicia Keys, Black Entertainment TV’s fourth annual “BET Awards” averaged 5.6 million viewers over two hours on Tuesday to become the highest-rated show in the history of the network.

On the same night, MTV’s “Real World” wrapped up a record-setting 14th season by chalking up 3.8 million viewers — only slightly under the 3.9 million average that made this year’s “Real World,” set in San Diego, the most-watched in the show’s history.

In its second episode of the season, FX’s “Nip/Tuck” pulled in 3.2 million viewers from 10-11 p.m. Tuesday, down from last week’s premiere of 3.8 million but heavy on the 18-49 demo Madison Avenue loves. The demo comprises a strapping two-thirds of the show’s total audience.

In direct competition with “Nip/Tuck” and the half-hour “Real World,” Bravo held its own with “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” reaping 2 million viewers with a rare episode in which the Fab Five bypassed heterosexual males and performed their magic on another gay man who was severely style-challenged.

The Nielsen battle of these programming powerhouses only reinforced the industry perception that Tuesday night at 10 is the most competitive time period in ad-supported cable.

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