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‘Dancing with the Stars’ Spring Premiere Ratings Drop Sharply

Viewership for the spring premiere of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” dropped 17.1 percent from a year ago, but was still last week’s second most-watched prime-time television program, trailing only CBS’ “NCIS.”

The two-hour March 19 premiere, where all 12 couples danced either the foxtrot or the cha-cha, averaged 18.79 million viewers, according to live-plus- same-day figures released today by Nielsen.

The 2011 spring premiere averaged 22.66 million, the third-highest viewership for a premiere in the series’ 14-season history, while the 2010 spring premiere averaged a series-high 24.19 million viewers.

Viewership generally declines the longer a series has been on the air. This was the first time a season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars” had to compete for viewers with the hit NBC singing competition “The Voice,” which averaged 11.95 million viewers, finishing seventh for the week.

CBS was the most-watched network for the third consecutive week and 20th time in the 27-week-old season, averaging 9.78 million viewers for its prime- time programming between March 19 and Sunday.

ABC was second, averaging 6.86 million, followed by Fox (6.72 million) and NBC (5.31 million).

CBS had 15 of the week’s 21 most-watched programs, topped by “NCIS,” which was first overall with 19.06 million viewers.

ABC was also bolstered by its detective drama “Castle,” which followed “Dancing with the Stars” and finished ninth for the week with 11.52 million viewers, its most since Oct. 31, 2011.

Following back-to-back weeks of 1-2 finishes by Fox’s “American Idol,” last week’s episodes finished third and fifth. The Wednesday edition averaged 17.21 million viewers, 6.3 percent fewer than a week earlier.

The Thursday elimination episode was fifth for the week, averaging 15.58 million viewers, a 2.7 percent drop from the previous week.

The second episode of the Fox drama “Touch” — which following the Thursday “American Idol” episode — averaged 11.81 million viewers and won its 9-10 p.m. time slot, finishing eighth for the week.

The NBC competition series “Fashion Star” became the first series this season to average more viewers for its second episode than its premiere. About 4.76 million viewers tuned in for the hourlong episode last Tuesday, putting it 51st for the week, 12 spots higher than the 90-minute premiere March 13 that averaged 4.55 million viewers.

Viewership for the second episode of the ABC drama “Missing” dropped 16.9 percent from its premiere — to 8.81 million — putting it 24th for the week. Its premiere March 15 averaged 10.6 million viewers and finished ninth among prime-time programs airing from March 12-18.

CBS was the most-watched network among viewers ages 18-49, the group ABC, Fox and NBC also target and advertisers covet. CBS also led among viewers ages 18-34, 25-54 and 50 and older, a group it has long dominated, while Fox was first among viewers ages 12-17.

ABC Family’s showing of the 2009 movie “The Blind Side” was the week’s most-watched cable program, averaging 4.69 million viewers to finish 54th among the week’s prime-time broadcast and cable programs.

The fifth season premiere of AMC’s 1960s advertising drama “Mad Men” averaged a series-record 3.54 million viewers.

USA was the most-watched cable network for the ninth time in 10 weeks, averaging 3.3 million viewers.

The Monday episode of the Univision telenovela “La Que No Podia Amar” (“The One That Could Not Love”) was the week’s most-watched Spanish-language program, averaging 4.6 million viewers, tying for 55th among all prime-time broadcast and cable programs.

Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network as usual, averaging 3.72 million viewers for its prime-time programming, followed by Telemundo (1.12 million), TeleFutura (610,000), Estrella TV (230,000) and Azteca America (140,000).

The “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” finished first among the network nightly newscasts for the 132nd consecutive week and 179th time in the past 180 weeks, averaging 8.28 million viewers.

ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer,” was second (7.08 million), followed by “CBS Evening News” (6.02 million).

The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were CBS’ “NCIS”; ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”; the Wednesday episode of Fox’s “American Idol”; CBS’ “NCIS: Los Angeles”; the Thursday “American Idol” episode; CBS’ “Criminal Minds”; NBC’s “The Voice”; Fox’s “Touch”; ABC’s “Castle”; and CBS’ “Two and a Half Men.”

Copyright © 2012 City News Service

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