NEW YORK – The 12-year-old singing sensation Grace VanderWaal's $1 million prize capped a successful season for summer's favorite television show, "America's Got Talent," and helped NBC to victory last week in the television ratings.
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VanderWaal's feel-good story and the return of Simon Cowell to a judge's table led to a strong season for the summer favorite, which will now be shelved with the onset of television's fall season. Last Wednesday's season finale reached 14.4 million viewers, the Nielsen company said.
It was not such good news for the Emmy Awards, which brought 11.4 million viewers to ABC on Sunday. It was the smallest audience ever recorded for the TV awards show.
The Emmys were hurt by a NBC's football game, which had 22.8 million viewers, and a CBS special on JonBenet Ramsey, with 10.4 million. Broadcasters once cleared the decks and left little competition for the Emmys. There's little incentive to do that now, with cable networks and streaming services dominating the awards.
Nielsen's top 20 last week was clogged with 9 football games or football-related shows.
NBC averaged 8.7 million viewers for the week in prime-time. CBS had 7.6 million, ABC had 5.1 million, Fox had 2.8 million, Telemundo had 1.8 million, Univision had 1.5 million, ION Television had 1.3 million and the CW had 1 million.
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ESPN was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 3.24 million viewers in prime-time. Fox had 2.39 million, TBS had 1.49 million, HGTV had 1.48 million and USA had 1.4 million.
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.8 million viewers. ABC's "World News Tonight" was second with 7.7 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.3 million viewers.
For the week of Sept. 12-18, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Green Bay at Minnesota, NBC, 22.75 million; "NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 16.74 million; NFL Football: N.Y. Jets at Buffalo, CBS, 15.39 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 14.41 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 13.97 million; NFL Football: Pittsburgh at Washington, ESPN, 12.96 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 12.7 million; "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 12.19 million; "Football Night in America" (Sunday, 7:55 p.m.), NBC, 11.86 million; "Emmy Awards," ABC, 11.38 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.