'CSI,' 'Housewives' lead among smallscreen series

PARIS — “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Mamma Mia!” and “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” were last year’s most-watched films on TV in the world top 26 territories, according to a Eurodata TV Worldwide study.

“Films have benefited from the multiplication of DTT channels which are important buyers of features, particularly American titles,” said Alexandre Callay, Eurodata TV Worldwide managing director.

“CSI” and “Desperate Housewives” were the best-rated U.S. series in 67 territories in 2010, attracting 65.5 million and 45.2 million viewers, respectively.

But “these performances are far from stellar considering there are more than three billion potential viewers worldwide,” said Amandine Cassi, head of research at Eurodata TV Worldwide.

“The golden age of American drama was four or five years ago when shows like ‘House’ and ‘Lost’ would get record ratings on primetime,” Cassi added. “Now we’re seeing local productions grabbing more and more share each year.”

In 2011, homegrown programming attracted 76% of audiences in Spain and 91% of viewers in the U.K. as percentages rose globally.

Local drama hits include Thailand’s “Rose Colored Lily,” Spain’s “El Barco” and Turkey’s “As Time Goes By.”

Meanwhile, “Got Talent,” “Eurovision,” “The Voice” and “Big Fat Gypsy Weddings” were among the most popular formats worldwide. “Got Talent,” for instance, was a huge hit in China, India and the U.K., where it took a 43% share on ITV1.

Netherlands’ “Cover Me” and Sweden’s “Gaster med gester” were the top two local formats, drawing a 57% share and a 53% share on home turf, respectively.

News channels also scored high ratings in 2011 with live coverage of the earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan grabbing headlines along with the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s death and the Arab Spring events.

The biggest spike came from Canada where CNN drew 45% more viewers during 2011’s first six month compared with last year’s first half.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more