Country Music Awards on high note

CBS' ACM telecast is show's best in 11 years

Sunday night’s “Academy of Country Music Awards” drew 14.8 million viewers, its largest audience since 1998.

CBS’ three-hour ACMA special earned a 3.8 rating/10 share in the 18-49 demo, up 31% from 2008. Total viewers figure repped a 3 million improvement from last year.

The special won every half-hour timeslot from 8-11 p.m., except when tying with a new episode of “The Simpsons.”

After many years of kudocast ratings spiraling downward, the ACMAs, Grammys and Oscars are bucking the trend. The Grammys scored about 2 million more viewers than last year, and the Oscars, which had been losing viewers at a large clip, saw a bump this year with Hugh Jackman hosting. Granted, it was an increase off the least-watched Oscars of all time in 2008, but the numbers did climb.

The ACMAs, produced by Dick Clark Prods., posted increases in all demos and propelled CBS to an easy win for the night, defeating second-place Fox, which offered up a lineup of animation series.

NBC continues to have a difficult time gaining any traction for Ian McShane starrer “Kings,” (1.1/3, 3.6m), which came in last in the 8 p.m. timeslot.

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