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BET Awards Hit 4-Year Ratings High, Rules As Sunday’s No. 1 Program

It draws 7.8 million viewers and is also narrowly the week's No. 1 primetime telecast in 18-49 demo

BET’s annual kudocast “The BET Awards” hit a four-year ratings high on Sunday — topping all its broadcast and cable competition on the night in both demos and total viewers.

The show, which celebrates the achievements of African-Americans and other minorities in various fields of entertainment, averaged a 3.4 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 7.77 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen. In both categories, this is a slight improvement over the previous three years and the best since the 2009 show, which aired days after the death of Michael Jackson and drew 10.6 million.

Competitively, no other Sunday primetime telecast came close in the 18-49 demo, as it finished well ahead of HBO’s “True Blood” (2.2 rating) and CBS’ “Big Brother” (1.9). And for the week, the BET Awards edged out the premiere of CBS’ “Under the Dome” and Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals on NBC as the No. 1 telecast in the demo.

In total viewers, the only program close to the BET Awards on Sunday was CBS’ “60 Minutes” (7.17 million).

The show, originating this year from the Nokia Theater L.A. Live after seven years in the Shrine Auditorium, was hosted by Chris Tucker and included performances by Chris Brown, Mariah Carey and Justin Timberlake. Drake was honored with video of the year for “Started From the Bottom.”

The 3.4 demo rating puts the BET Awards on par with the most recent ABC telecasts of the Billboard Music Awards (3.5 in May) and American Music Awards (3.4 last November).

And in total years, the BET kudocast tops the most recent version of the Tony Awards on CBS (7.3 million last month) as well as last September’s telecast of the VMA Awards on MTV (an atypically low 6.13 million when it aired on a Thursday and on the same night as the Democratic National Convention).

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