NEW YORK (AP) — In a week dominated by fun and games in prime-time television, it was no fun for Fox: the network recorded the lowest-ever viewership average for a week by one of the four biggest broadcast networks.
Fox averaged 1.96 million viewers in prime time, a fraction below the 1.97 million viewers it recorded for the week before Labor Day last year, the Nielsen company said. "MasterChef," with 4 million viewers, was its most-watched program of the week, Nielsen said.
The Fox News Channel cable network had more viewers last week than its broadcast sister, an unusual but not unprecedented development.
Because of barbecues, fireworks and other outdoor activities, the weeks around July 4th are often the least-watched time of the year in television. Networks usually plan accordingly, keeping most of its best material on the shelf. CBS also had its lowest week in the ratings in nearly four years, Nielsen said.
All but three of the 15 most-watched programs last week involved some sort of competition, including game shows, talent shows and Olympic trials.
NBC had some good news. The summer's most popular program, "America's Got Talent," is benefiting from the presence of new judge Simon Cowell to record its best ratings in five years.
NBC averaged 5.2 million viewers last week in prime time. CBS had 4.4 million, ABC had 4.2 million, Fox had 2 million, Univision had 1.6 million, Telemundo had 1.31 million, ION Television had 1.29 million and the CW had 1 million.
Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.14 million viewers. Discovery had 1.56 million viewers, USA had 1.49 million, HGTV had 1.48 million and TBS had 1.26 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 7.5 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.5 million viewers.
For the week of June 27-July 3, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 11.21 million; "NCIS," CBS, 7.71 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 7.08 million; "The Bachelorette," ABC, 6.86 million; "The "100,000 Pyramid," ABC, 6.58 million; "American Ninja Warrior," NBC, 6.32 million; "Celebrity Family Feud," ABC, 6.3 million; "Big Brother" (Wednesday), CBS, 6.13 million; "Olympic Trials" (Tuesday), NBC, 5.89 million; "Big Brother" (Thursday), CBS, 5.87 million.