A slew of last-minute specials dedicated to Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson dominated the primetime airwaves Thursday but none were able to overcome the elimination episode of Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” which gave the network a narrow win.
The best rated and most watched of the retrospectives was ABC’s 10 p.m. edition of “20/20,” titled “Barbara Walters Presents: Farrah Fawcett: Her Life, Her Loves, Her Legacy.” Episode earned a 2.3 rating/7 share in the 18-49 demo, with 8.2 million viewers tuning in.
Also at 10, “CBS News: The Life and Times of Michael Jackson” (1.9/6, 7.5m) was the top show of the night for the Eye, which aired repeats of “The Mentalist” (1.1/4, 6.6m) and “CSI” (1.6/5, 8.5m) prior to the news special.
NBC’s two-hour “Dateline” (1.7/5, 5.5m), covering the passing of Fawcett and Jackson, was edged in total viewers by ABC’s 9 p.m. edition of “20/20: The Life and Death of Michael Jackson” (1.7/5, 5.7m).
Cable news outlets were also recounting the lives of Jackson and Fawcett extensively, and may have drawn viewers away from the broadcast coverage.
Although Fox’s “Dance” won the night, the reality skein was down 14% from last week and hit a season low.
Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 1.9/6; CBS, 1.6/5; ABC, 1.6/5; NBC, 1.5/5; Univision; 1.5/5; CW, 0.5/1.
In total viewers: CBS, 7.5 million; ABC, 5.7 million, Fox, 5.6 million; NBC, 4.7 million; Univision, 3.5 million; CW, 1.3 million.