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NFL draft TV ratings in slight but understandable slide

ESPN’s ratings for the 2011 NFL draft Thursday dropped to 6.0 million overall from 7.3 million the previous year, a decline popularly attributed to fan ambivalence in the wake of the league’s ongoing labor strife.

In addition, though their audiences aren’t exactly the same, the draft this year aired opposite the results show of “American Idol,” which moved to Thursdays. This year’s competition also included the Steve Carell finale of “The Office.”

The NFL Network, for its part, essentially matched its audience from last year with 1.0 million viewers.

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