By David Bauder, AP
NEW YORK–Taylor Swift kick-started the Billboard Music Awards and boosted ABC in the television ratings, too.
The singer’s big night helped the awards show to its most-watched night since 2001. The Nielsen company said 11.2 million saw the show on Sunday, where Swift won eight awards to become the most decorated artist in Billboard Award history and debuted her new music video.
Coupled with ��Dancing With the Stars�� and other finales to some of ABC’s biggest series, the network finished a close second to dominant CBS in viewership last week and won among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic it targets. ABC has won in that demo for four straight weeks, although NBC won for the television season as a whole. Among all viewers, CBS won for the seventh year in a row.
Nielsen said 3.3 million people watched the series finale of ��Mad Men�� on AMC Sunday night. The fifth season debut of the series in 2012 was seen by 3.5 million people on its first night, which stands as the ��Mad Men�� record. The show increases in viewership when time shifting is counted in; the sixth season debut in 2013 was seen by 4.5 million people live and in the three days afterward.
CBS averaged 7.33 million viewers in prime-time last week, narrowly beating ABC’s 7.27 million. NBC had 5.5 million viewers, Fox had 3.5 million, Univision had 2.8 million, the CW had 1.7 million, Telemundo had 1.4 million and ION Television had 1.1 million.
As the NBA playoffs progress, TNT was the most popular cable network last week, averaging 2.78 million viewers in prime time. ESPN had 2.16 million, USA had 1.73 million, the Disney Channel had 1.63 million and Fox News Channel had 1.54 million.
The see-saw ratings race for evening news viewers continues. After two straight losing weeks, ABC’s ��World News Tonight�� was back on top with a 7.76 million average. NBC’s ��Nightly News�� with substitute Lester Holt had 7.67 million and CBS had 6.7 million.
For the week of May 11-17, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: ��NCIS,�� CBS, 14.94 million; ��NCIS: New Orleans,�� CBS, 13.61 million; ��Dancing With the Stars,�� ABC, 13.48 million; ��Billboard Music Awards,�� ABC, 11.18 million; ��Dancing With the Stars Results Show,�� ABC, 10.16 million; ��The Voice�� (Monday), NBC, 10.05 million; ��Survivor,�� CBS, 9.61 million; ��The Big Bang Theory,�� CBS, 9.57 million; ��The Voice�� (Tuesday), NBC, 9.14 million; ��60 Minutes,�� CBS, 8.99 million.