ACM Awards send ABC rookies to lows

Though down a bit from last year, the Academy of Country Music Awards provided CBS with one of its strongest non-sports Sundays of the season as the net won the night in key demos. The show contributed to season lows for ABC rookies ”Once Upon a Time” and ”GCB.”

Sunday was an atypical night across the board, with not only special programming like the ACM Awards, but it also included the season premieres of high-profile cable series ”Game of Thrones” on HBO (ratings for which won’t be available until Tuesday) and ”The Killing” on AMC as well as the season finale of Showtime’s ”Shameless.” Also, a big WrestleMania pay-per-view figured to steal away a lot of younger viewers.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, CBS won the 8 to 11 p.m. window with the ”Academy of Country Music Awards” telecast (3.1/8 in 18-49, 13.0 million viewers overall), which was the night’s top program in most categories , down slightly from last year in 18-49 while flat in adults 25-54 (4.2/9). Throw in the timeslot-leading ”60 Minutes” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 9.9 million viewers overall) and CBS won the night over runner-up ABC by 1 share in 18-49 and 3 shares in adults 25-54 while also dominating in total viewers.

ABC was down a bit week to week, with ”America’s Funniest Home Videos” at 7 (1.2/4 in 18-49, 5.5 million viewers overall) and ”Desperate Housewives” at 9 (2.6/6 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall) both flat week to week, while rookies ”Once Upon a Time” at 8 (2.7/8 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall) and ”GCB” at 10 (1.9/5 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall) were down a couple of ticks week to week for season lows.

It’s perhaps not surprising that the Texas-set dramedy ”GCB” hit a low opposite the ACM Awards.

NBC went with a three-hour episode of ”Celebrity Apprentice” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall), which built in demo rating with each half-hour, finishing second to the ACM Awards from 10 to 11. The show was on par with its two-hour performance of last week, with its regular 9-11 p.m. portion doing a 1.9/5 in 18-49. Kicking off the night, ”Dateline” averaged a 1.0/3 in 18-49 and 5.5 million viewers overall).

At Fox, a repeat episode of ”The Simpsons” at 8 p.m. (1.6/5 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall) seemed to depress viewership both at 7:30 p.m. for ”The Cleveland Show” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall), at 8:30 p.m. for ”Bob’s Burgers” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall) and at 9 p.m. for ”Family Guy” (2.5/6 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall), all of which were down by double-digits vs. their most recent originals. At 9:30, ”American Dad” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 4.2

ACM Awards send ABC rookies to lows) was flat week to week.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.6/7; ABC, 2.1/6; Fox, 1.7/5; NBC, 1.6/5; Univision, 1.1/3.

In total viewers: CBS, 12.2 million; ABC, 7.0 million; NBC, 5.6 million; Fox, 3.6 million; Univision, 2.9 million.

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