The most-watched BET Awards on record capped another big week for cable, as numerous networks chimed in with year-best results.
NBC may have earned a narrow — and rare — demo victory for the week on the strength of the returning “America’s Got Talent,” but it was some boffo cable perfs bookending the final frame of June that made the biggest noise.
According to Nielsen nationals, Monday saw TLC’s “Jon and Kate Plus 8” score network record ratings (4.9 rating/14 share in adults 18-49, 10.61 million viewers overall) to stand as the week’s No. 1 program in 18-49.
And the week was capped by Sunday’s “BET Awards” (4.5/13 in 18-49, 10.65m), which drew roughly 60% more viewers than the show’s previous high in 2006 (6.64 million).
The kudocast, featuring numerous tributes to Michael Jackson by performers and honorees, was the week’s No. 2 primetime program in 18-49, No. 3 in total viewers and No. 1 in persons 12-34 (5.2/17). In total viewers, it ranks No. 1 among all cable telecasts for the calendar year.
Also clicking on cable during the week was Disney Channel’s original movie “Princess Protection Program,” which racked up 8.53 million viewers — the third-largest aud for a movie preem on the net to date. It’s also TV’s No. 1 entertainment telecast of the year among the 6-14 crowd.
And HBO has reason to be pleased with the premiere of “Hung” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 2.83m), which became the net’s most-watched series preem in two years. It bowed behind the hot “True Blood,” which hit another high in some categories (2.0/5, 3.73m).
Overall for the June 22-28 period, a week in which specials paying tribute to Jackson and Farrah Fawcett were prominent on the Thursday and Friday skeds, NBC scored its first victory in adults 18-49 since early January with a 1.6 rating/5 share. It was followed by Fox (1.5/5), ABC, CBS and Univision (all 1.3/4) and USA (1.1/3).
The Peacock also led in adults 25-54 (2.0/6), Fox in persons 12-34 (1.3/5) and CBS in total viewers (6.51 million).
For NBC, “America’s Got Talent” returned lower than usual but ranked as the week’s top two broadcast programs in adults 18-49 with Tuesday’s two-hour premiere (3.2/10 in 18-49, 11.46m) and Wednesday’s hourlong seg (3.1/9, 10.40m). Tuesday’s installment was the week’s most-watched program overall.
Also of note, the debut of drama “The Philanthropist” did pretty well on Wednesday (1.9/6 in 18-49, 7.12m), winning its hour in 18-49 and qualifying as summer’s most-watched series debut.
One show that never really got going for NBC, the multinight “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here,” ended its run with typically lackluster numbers on Wednesday (1.5/5, 4.33m).
Fox was paced by “So You Think You Can Dance” on Wednesday (2.9/9 in 18-49, 7.62m) and Thursday (2.5/8, 6.89m), but its two-hour sci-fi project “Virtuality” put up tiny numbers on Friday (0.5/2, 1.73m).
At ABC, “Wipeout” (2.8/9 in 18-49, 7.80m) and “The Bachelorette” (2.3/7, 6.76m) continue to be the net’s summer saviors, compensating last week for some truly anemic performers, including the firstrun “Goode Family” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.67m) on Friday and “Eli Stone” on Saturday (0.5/2, 2.67m).
And it was a slow start on Tuesday for “Superstars” (1.5/5, 4.27m), the update of the popular 1970s series.