Nielsen Numbers: People Watching ‘Secret Millionaire’

By Steve Herbert City News Service

An unscripted television series axed by FOX two years ago was last week’s seventh most-watched program, only trailing three “American Idol” episodes and three popular CBS dramas.

Now on ABC, the debut of “Secret Millionaire,” where the affluent go undercover to help those in need, averaged 12.67 million viewers to finish as Sunday’s most-watched program and seventh among prime-time programs broadcast between Feb. 28 and Sunday, according to live-plus same-day figures released Tuesday by The Nielsen Co.

The audience was ABC’s largest in the Sunday 8-9 p.m. time slot with regular programming since a March 30, 2008, episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” which averaged 13 million viewers.

“Secret Millionaire” was canceled by Fox in December 2008 after six episodes aired on that network.

The premiere of the NBC competition series “The Next Great American Restaurant” which ran opposite “Secret Millionaire,” was fourth in its time slot and 65th among the week’s programming on the five major broadcast networks, averaging 4.59 million viewers.

With one-third of its schedule devoted to “American Idol,” FOX finished first for the week.

Thursday’s two-hour “American Idol” episode featuring the naming of its 13 finalists was the week’s most-watched program, averaging 25.26 million viewers. The 90-minute Wednesday and Tuesday “Idol” episodes were second and third for the week.

CBS had the week’s five most-watched scripted programs and finished second overall, followed by ABC in third, NBC in fourth and The CW in fifth place.

CBS’s “NCIS” was the most-watched scripted program, finishing fourth overall. A rerun of “Two and a Half Men” was the most-watched comedy, taking the ninth spot overall.

MTV’s unscripted series “Jersey Shore” was the most-watched prime- time cable program for the sixth time in seven weeks, but the USA Network was the most-watched cable network in prime time for the sixth time in seven weeks.

As usual, Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network, averaging 3.76 million viewers for its prime-time programming. Telemundo was second, averaging 1.33 million viewers, followed by TeleFutura (780,000), Estrella TV (220,000) and Azteca America (200,000).

The week’s most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was the Thursday episode of a Univision telenovela. “Eva Luna” averaged 5.13 million viewers, which would have put it 55th among the programs on the five major English-language networks.

The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were Fox’s Thursday,

Wednesday and Tuesday “American Idol” episodes; CBS’ “NCIS,” “NCIS: Los

Angeles” and “Criminal Minds”; ABC’s “Secret Millionaire”; and CBS’ “60

Minutes,” “Two and a Half Men” and “The Good Wife.”

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March 10, 2011  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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