Kids turn in en masse for awards show

Who says nobody stays home to watch TV on Saturday night? Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards has proven otherwise for the past 19 years.

The kudocast hit a ratings high in 2006 when an average aud of 5.94 million tuned in to see Jack Black preside over the ceremonies, according to Nielsen.

While awards shows across the spectrum have witnessed audience erosion over the years, the KCAs have held up exceptionally well. The 2006 telecast drew 15% more viewers than the 2005 show and more than doubled its average from the mid-’90s.

The 5.94 million was a bigger average than the most recent kudocasts of the MTV Movie Awards (3.22 million) and the MTV Video Music Awards (5.77 million).

And it’s also higher than some broadcast awards shows, including the most recent NAACP Image Awards on Fox (3.87 million), the Teen Choice Awards on Fox (4.75 million) and Miss Teen USA on NBC (5.72 million).

“The Kids’ Choice Awards is the ultimate manifestation of our brand,” says Nickelodeon exec vice president and general manager Tom Ascheim. “It’s empowering for kids, funny, messy and full of surprises.”

Program started out as “The Big Ballot” — interstitial programming that gave kids a voice in choosing their favorites. Today’s it has evolved into a star-studded Hollywood event.

Of the 5.94 million who watched at any given moment during last year’s kudocast, a substantial 2.5 million were kids 6-11 — making it the highest-rated telecast of the week in that demo, even topping Fox’s “American Idol.”

One of the biggest year-to-year gains came from tweens 9-14, with last year’s 2.3 million viewers representing a 7% rise.

On the Internet front, a record 26.6 million votes were cast in a total of 16 categories on Nick.com and via cell phones — including 500,000 alone for best burp.

And a live simulcast of the show on TurboNick drove Nick.com to its highest day ever with 1.2 million unique visitors.

“It’s keeps getting bigger,” Ascheim says. “The only thing that hasn’t changed is that the kids are still in charge.”

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