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Monday’s “American Music Awards” collected its highest rating in six years, a major achievement in this era of ever-increasing competition and ever-diminishing network ratings.

The three-hour, two-minute ABC telecast earned a 21.6 rating, 33 share, up a sizzling 18% from last year’s results. Those are the best numbers for the ABC kudocast since 1987, when the show posted a 22.2/32.

This year’s numbers move the “AMA” back ahead of the “Country Music Association Awards” in the race to finish the season as the second-highest-rated regular awards show, behind the upcoming Academy Awards.

In in its rivalry with the Grammys, “AMA” has enjoyed the higher rating four years in a row and seven of the last eight, and is now in an excellent position to extend those strings. To outscore “AMA” this year, the Grammys would have to attract their best rating in eight years.

The big “AMA” rating last Monday gave ABC an easy nightlong win with the net’s highest Monday score since the Academy Awards last March 30. That impressive start to the current week’s prime time Nielsens puts ABC in a good position to break CBS’ current seven-week winning streak, but NBC will cap the week with the Super Bowl, meaning season-leader CBS may have to settle for last-place in the Jan. 25-31 period.

In addition to dominating overall household numbers, ABC’s awards show belted out some impressive shares in its demographic breakouts–a 49 among teens (age 12-17), a 48 among women 18-34 and a 35 among men 18-34.

Comparative results for other awards telecasts of the past year include: “The Academy Awards,” 29.8/50; “The County Music Association Awards,” 20.3/32; “The Grammy Awards,” 16.2/27; “The Academy of Country Music Awards,” 15.6/25; “The Daytime Emmy Awards,” 15.3/26; “The (Primetime) Emmy Awards,” 13.9/24; “The Soap Opera Awards,” 13.9/24; “The People’s Choice Awards,” 13.1/22; “The American Comedy Awards,” 11.6/20; “The Billboard Music Awards,” 9.4/14; and “The Tony Awards,” 8.9/16.