CBS DOMINATES WITH REPEATS
NBC's America's Got Talent may have remained the hit show of the summer last week as its Tuesday edition ranked No. 1 with 8.7 million viewers and its Wednesday results episode ranked No. 2 with 7.8 million, but CBS repeats filled in the remaining boxes on Nielsen's list of top ten TV shows; they also accounted for 14 of the top 20. Not a single Michael Jackson special figured in the top 20 rankings, but the ratings for the evening newscasts were all up even as those for primetime TV were down. NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams averaged 8.34 million viewers -- which would have placed it at No. 2 on the primetime list. ABC's World News With Charles Gibson ranked second among the newscasts with 7.15 million viewers -- enough to have put it at No. 6 if it had aired during primetime. Ratings were also up for CBS's struggling CBS Evening News With Katie Couric, which averaged 5.69 million viewers, but even that would have given it 15th place on the list -- not bad considering the fact that nearly 250 television shows are ranked by Nielsen each week. For the week, CBS averaged a 4.5 rating and a 9 share (6.9 million viewers). NBC placed second with a 3.5/7 (5.4 million). Fox came in third with a 2.6/5 (4.2 million), while ABC trailed with a 2.4/5 (3.7 million).
The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:
1. America's Got Talent (Tuesday), NBC, 7.6/13; 2. America's Got Talent (Wednesday), NBC, 6.9/12; 3. NCIS, CBS, 6.8/12; 4. The Mentalist (Tuesday), CBS, 6.7/11; 5. The Mentalist (Thursday), CBS, 6.5/12; 6. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 5.9/10; 7. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 5.5/10; 7. (Tie) CSI: NY, CBS, 5.5/10; 9. 48 Hours Mystery Tuesday, CBS, 5.4/10; 9. (Tie) 60 Minutes, CBS, 5.4/11; 9. (Tie) Criminal Minds, CBS, 5.4/9; 9. CSI: Miami, CBS, 5.4/9.
UNTOLD MILLIONS WATCH JACKSON MEMORIAL
The huge crowds that were expected to descend on the Staples Arena during the Michael Jackson memorial on Tuesday failed to materialize, but millions flocked to television sets and computers to view the ceremonies. NewTeeVee.com reported that Akamai, the leading video streaming service (or "Content Delivery Network") delivered more than 2,185,000 live streams during the memorial, making it the second-biggest web telecast behind President Obama's inauguration, when 7 million simultaneous streams were delivered. MSNBC said that it provided 3 million live streams of the service, while CNN provided 781,000 live streams. The major television networks carried the event without commercial interruptions. "Michael Jackson's memorial service on Tuesday was solemnly presented on television as a state funeral," wrote New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley. "This was a star-studded live concert infused with all the pageantry, sorrow and ghoulish curiosity that attends the untimely demise of a beloved, troubled superstar." But many writers questioned what they called "overkill" coverage of the star. Daily Variety's Brian Lowry advised the mainstream media: "Whenever E! crews are sitting beside you, and you're getting most of your news tips from TMZ, you are perhaps directing your shrinking resources in a dubious direction." Viewers also began registering their complaints Tuesday. On ABC's Good Morning America one viewer summed up the complaints of others tersely: "What a waste of time!" But Los Angeles Times critic Robert Lloyd concluded: "Practically speaking, there was no call for that much coverage -- one network's was very much like another's, and once the memorial itself began, the feed was identical. But there is a power to pop culture that a broadcaster ignores at its own peril, and once one network had signed on for the full run, it was inevitable that others would. In the end, everyone came."