The television audience for the MTV Video Music Awards dropped nearly 18 percent from last year, to its second-lowest viewership since 2008, but only four prime-time television programs last week drew more viewers.
Sunday’s ceremony from the Forum in Inglewood averaged 8.26 million viewers, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen today. The 2013 ceremony averaged 10.06 million.
Since Nielsen began measuring MTV program ratings in 1994, the largest audience for the MTV Video Music Awards was in 2011, when an average of 12.45 million viewers saw Katy Perry’s “Firework” announced as the video of the year.
For the fifth consecutive week, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” swept the top two spots in the ratings. The two-hour Tuesday episode averaged 9.48 million viewers, and the hourlong Wednesday episode was viewed by 9.43 million.
But it was CBS that had nine of the 14 most-watched programs between Aug. 18 and Sunday to finish first for the ninth time in 10 weeks, averaging 5.82 million viewers for its prime-time programming. CBS’ most-watched program was “NCIS,” which averaged 9.11 million viewers, finishing third overall.
NBC averaged 5.1 million viewers to finish second for the ninth time in 11 weeks, averaging 4.89, while ABC was third for the ninth time in the 10 weeks since the end of the NBA Finals, averaging 4.02 million viewers.
The two-hour season-finale of the Canadian-produced police drama “Rookie Blue” was ABC’s most-watched program, averaging 5.32 million viewers, putting it 24th among the week’s prime-time broadcast and cable programs.
Fox was fourth among the English-language networks and sixth overall, averaging 2.55 million viewers, trailing the Spanish-language Univision network, which averaged 3.33 million, and the cable all-sports network, ESPN, which averaged 2.59 million.
Fox’s most-watched program was “MasterChef,” averaging 5.83 million viewers, 15th for the week.
Univision finished first for the fourth time in five weeks among viewers ages 18-49, the group also targeted by ABC, NBC and Fox and coveted by advertisers because it watches less television and is harder to reach.
The MTV Video Music Awards was the week’s most-watched programs among the group, averaging 5.28 million viewers — 13.9 percent less than last year’s average of 6.13 million.
The Sunday episode of CBS’ “Big Brother” was second, averaging 3.23 million, followed by the Wednesday edition of “Big Brother” (2.96 million), ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” game between the Cleveland Browns and Washington (2.9 million), and the Thursday edition of “Big Brother (2.86 million).
Univision also led among viewers ages 12-17 and 18-34, while CBS was first among viewers 25-54 and 50 and older, a group it has long dominated.
Univision’s advantages over the English-language networks during the summer include broadcasting more first-run programs and the fact that there are fewer alternatives for Spanish-speaking viewers than their English-language counterparts.
The combination of the Little League World Series and “Monday Night Football” made ESPN the week’s most-watched cable network, averaging 2.59 million viewers.
Washington’s 24-23 “Monday Night Football” victory averaged 6.9 million viewers, the most for a NFL preseason game since the Houston Texans- Minnesota Vikings game on Aug. 31, 2009, averaged 7.92 million viewers. “Monday Night Football” was the week’s 11th most-watched program, second among cable programs.
The Little League World Series game Wednesday between all-star teams from leagues Las Vegas and Philadelphia averaged the largest-ever audience for a Little League World Series game on ESPN — 4.99 million viewers — putting it 29th among all programs for the week and fourth among cable programs.
The week’s most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was the Monday episode of the Univision telenovela “Mi Corazon Es Tuyo,” which averaged 3.98 million viewers, 44th among all prime-time broadcast and cable programs.
As usual, Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network, averaging 3.33 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 1.27 million, followed by UniMas (490,000), Estrella TV (180,000), MundoFox (110,000) and Azteca America (100,000).
The “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 258th consecutive week and 305th of the past 306, averaging 8.02 million viewers, followed by ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” (7.33 million) and the “CBS Evening News” anchored by Scott Pelley (6.53 million).
(The average for the “CBS Evening News” does not include Friday because of pre-emptions and schedule changes to accommodate the Green Bay Packers-Oakland Raiders preseason game.)
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were the 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday editions of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”; CBS’ “NCIS” and”60 Minutes”; the MTV Video Music Awards; CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” “Under the Dome” and the Sunday edition of “Big Brother”; NBC’s NFL preseason game between the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals; and CBS’ “NCIS: Los Angeles.”
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