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Billboard Music Awards Swamp Sunday’s Finales

ABC wins as 'Home Videos' finishes up; Fox vets steady year to year, while 'Apprentice' tumbles

The allure of live programming was evident once again on the final Sunday of the season, as ABC’s “Billboard Music Awards” overwhelmed in key demos the finales of Fox’s “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons” as well as NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

ABC won the night in demos, according to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, kicking things off with “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall), which spiked 29% (0.4) week to week to match its season high in 18-49 and rise 20% above its year-ago finale (1.5).

It was followed by the “Billboard Music Awards” (3.6/10 in 18-49, 9.5 million viewers overall), which have become a solid ratings performer in its third year on the network. This year’s show, hosted by Tracy Morgan, and highlighted by multiple victories for Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, spiked by 33% (0.9) from last year in 18-49 for its best average since 2003 on Fox; and it shot up by 28% in total viewers for the kudocast’s largest overall audience since the 2000 show on Fox.

For the night, ABC’s 3.1 rating in adults 18-49 matched the combined averages of the next two broadcasters (Fox and CBS). The Alphabet also won in total viewers.

Fox aired hourlong season finales of animated series “The Cleveland Show” (1.0/4 in 18-49, 2.3 million viewers overall), “The Simpsons” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall) and “Family Guy” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall). “Cleveland,” which is ending its run after four seasons, was well off its year-ago pace while “Simpsons” and “Family” were on par with their half-hour season-enders of a year ago. “Family Guy” was Sunday’s No. 1 broadcast series in many demos, and ruled as top dog (ahead of the “Billboard Music Awards”) in men 18-34 (3.3/11); and when all DVR data is in, it should challenge the awards show in 18-49.

CBS went with two hours of “60 Minutes,” with the first in its regular timeslot (1.4/5 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall) standing as the night’s most-watched telecast. And following the special 8 p.m. episode (1.3/4 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall), it aired the special “ACM Presents: Tim McGraw’s Superstar Summer Night” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall).

NBC opened with a two-hour repeat of “The Voice” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall), followed by the conclusion of “The Celebrity Apprentice” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall), which was up from last week’s 1.3 but remained well below its finale average of last year (2.2).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 3.1/9; Fox, 1.8/5; CBS, 1.3/4; NBC, 1.1/3; Univision, 1.0/3.

In total viewers: ABC, 8.7 million; CBS, 7.8 million; NBC and Fox, 3.9 million; Univision, 2.8 million.

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