Pre-taped awards show takes major tumble

The American people made their choice Tuesday night, and they opted not to watch a pre-taped awards show.

In what may be a harbinger for Sunday’s reveal of the Golden Globe Awards winners on NBC, ratings for the scaled-back 34th annual “People’s Choice Awards” on CBS tumbled to record lows. And in a clear sign of auds not liking what they saw, ratings dropped with each half-hour.

The People’s Choice Awards had announced last month that — due to the writers strike — it would replace its traditional live show with a new format that had its crews, including host Queen Latifah, delivering trophies to stars on location.

According to Nielsen estimates that include same-night DVR playback, Tuesday’s “People’s Choice” averaged a 1.6 rating/4 share among adults 18-49 and 5.96 million viewers overall — down sharply from last year (3.5/9 in the demo and 11.33 million viewers).

These are easily the lowest numbers to date for the show, which had previously dipped below 10 million only two other times (2005 and 2006). And it was also the worst firstrun perf on a Tuesday this season for CBS.

Elsewhere on the night, NBC remained hot with “The Biggest Loser” and “Law & Order: SVU,” while CW got back in the game with the return of “One Tree Hill.”

For NBC, which won the night with its highest-rated non-Olympics Tuesday in two years, a two-hour “Biggest Loser” (4.3/11 in 18-49, 10.13m) led each of its half-hours in key demos. Excluding premieres and finales, this was the best perf for the franchise since the penultimate episode of the first edition in January 2005.

And “Law & Order: SVU” dominated at 10 o’clock (5.1/14 in 18-49, 15.15m), logging its best numbers since last January. It also posted the best demo rating (excluding the “CSI”-“Without a Trace” crossover for CBS in November) for any 10 o’clock drama this season.

CW, meanwhile, got some much-needed good ratings news with the two-hour return of “One Tree Hill.” Producers fast-forwarded the action by four years to deal with the characters, who had graduated from high school in last season’s finale, as young adults.

The two episodes averaged a 1.6/4 in 18-49 and 3.57 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m., placing second to “Loser” in those 12-34 (2.1/6) and females 12-34 (3.0/8). In these categories as well as total viewers, CW logged its best Tuesday deliveries of the season.

Even without the benefit of a lead-in from “America’s Next Top Model,” as it had a year ago, “Hill” matched its preem of last fall in most categories. Show will regularly air at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, following a repeat of reality show “Crowned.”

And MyNet set a network record Tuesday, as the premiere of “Street Patrol” and the return of “Jail” produced its most-watched night of series perfs to date (1.72 million).

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