No Big Boost for SAG Awards in Nielsen Ratings

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During an otherwise glitz-free year in Hollywood, the Screen Actors Guild had its biggest audience Sunday since moving to cable television in 1998 — but no one will confuse it with the Oscars.

An estimated 6.1 million people watched the SAG awards on either TNT or TBS, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's up from 5.8 million who watched the awards show last year. During three years that it was televised on NBC, its biggest audience was 12.5 million.

This year's audience was only a fraction of the 39.9 million who watched the Academy Awards last year. So much for the SAG ratings boon that was supposed to materialize with the writer's strike leaving the Academy Awards in the balance.

CNN also reached a milestone in January with the heightened interest in the presidential campaign. The news network topped Fox News Channel in prime-time among viewers aged 18 to 49 for the first month since November 2001, Nielsen said.

Add in the older folks, and Fox News still dominates. CNN's January prime-time viewership was up 39 percent from January 2007, MSNBC's was up 33 percent and Fox was up 4 percent.

"The audience clearly notices the difference in our reporting," said Jon Klein, CNN U.S. president. "They are responding to our aggressively independent coverage that doesn't favor the right or the left."

Among the broadcast networks, Fox dominated in prime-time again last week. "American Idol" led the way, but the lie detector game "The Moment of Truth" was easily the most-watched show that didn't include bad singing auditions.

NBC continued a quiet improvement behind games like "Deal or No Deal" and "American Gladiators." It finished second behind Fox in the youthful demographic most sought by both networks.

For the week, Fox averaged 11.7 million viewers (6.9 rating, 11 share), CBS had 9.3 million (6.1, 10), NBC had 8.1 million (5.1, 8), ABC had 6.8 million (4.4, 7), the CW had 2.1 million (1.3, 2), My Network TV had 1.2 million (0.8, 1) and ION Television had 630,000 (0.4, 1).

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision had 3.8 million viewers (1.9 rating, 3 share), Telemundo had 1.2 million (0.7, 1), TeleFutura had 620,000 (0.3, 1) and Azteca had 190,000 (0.1, 0).

ABC's "World News" narrowly won the evening news ratings race, averaging 9.67 million viewers (6.7, 12). NBC's "Nightly News" had 9.64 million viewers (6.6, 12) and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.1 million (4.8, 9).

A ratings point represents 1,128,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 112.8 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of Jan. 21-27, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "American Idol" (Tuesday), Fox, 29.27 million; "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 27.09 million; "The Moment of Truth," Fox, 23.05 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 14.48 million; "Deal or No Deal" (Monday), NBC, 14.24 million; "House," Fox, 13.91 million; "Deal or No Deal" (Wednesday), NBC, 13.66 million; "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," ABC, 13.55 million; "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 13.27 million; "Law & Order: SVU," NBC, 12.98 million.