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TV Ratings: Academy of Country Music Awards Dominate Sunday

Sunday was a good night for country music, as the 50th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards corralled the largest audience for any program last week.

According to Nielsen estimates for the week of April 13-19, the ceremony on CBS drew 16 million viewers, airing live from the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The event featured performances from country music icons Reba McEntire and Garth Brooks. Taylor Swift was feted with the Milestone Award.

The kudocast’s big audience was up 12% from last year’s ceremony, making for the event’s largest audience in 17 years.

Other performance-based shows to make the top 10-rated shows last week were ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and NBC’s “The Voice,” each drawing more than 10 million viewers. Fox’s “American Idol,” however, struggled to fare as well as these competitors, barely making the top 20 with 7.6 million viewers. “Idol” had been looking pretty good while “Empire” reigned, benefiting from sharing Wednesday nights with the drama.

CBS led the networks once again, averaging 9.63 million viewers. ABC followed distantly, averaging 6.09 million, with NBC behind with an average of 5.04 million.

CBS’ big lead is even more apparent in the week’s top 20 telecasts, with 14 of the most-watched programs airing on the net. Among the high performers were the always-popular “NCIS” and “The Big Bang Theory,” which were exceeded only by the ACM Awards. The Eye’s “NCIS: New Orleans,” “Criminal Minds” and “60 Minutes” also ranked in the top 10. “The Odd Couple” broke back into the top 10 with 9.6 million viewers, enjoying a bump from “Big Bang Theory,” which was also up.

Farther down the ratings chart, NBC’s “A.D. The Bible Continues” dipped again in its third week, losing 1.4 million viewers and pulling in 6.3 million. The religious program was unable to outcompete the likes of ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos” or CBS’ “60 Minutes,” both of which aired that same Thursday.

Fox News led cablers for the third time this year, averaging 1.69 million viewers. Presidential campaign news from Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio inviting viewers eager for more political analysis. The news channel was followed closely by a tie between Disney Channel and USA, each averaging 1.57 million viewers.

For the week of April 13-19, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “ACM Awards,” CBS, 16 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 15.8 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 14.8 million; “NCIS: New Orleans,” CBS, 14.4 million; “Dancing with the Stars,” ABC, 13.9 million; “The Voice,” NBC, 11 million; “The Voice – Tuesday,” NBC, 10.7 million; “Criminal Minds,” CBS, 10.4 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 10 million; “The Odd Couple,” CBS, 9.6 million.

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