NEW YORK (AP) — More people were interested in watching a celebration of television's recent past than in seeing anything new on television last week.
The Nielsen company said NBC's Emmy Awards were watched by 15.6 million people last week, six million more viewers than the second most-watched program of the week, "America's Got Talent," also on NBC.
While that's down from the 17.8 million who watched the Emmys last year, it was a larger audience for the annual awards show than for any other year since 2005. And it's a relief to NBC, which moved the event to a Monday night in late August because it didn't want a conflict with pro football. The Emmys are usually broadcast on a Sunday in mid-September.
This year's strong showing surprised some insiders because there is generally a bigger TV audience available later in September than on a Monday before Labor Day. But the week's telecast was helped by the fact that it didn't have to compete against a football game.
Diane Sawyer and ABC's "World News" came close to unseating NBC's "Nightly News" as the top evening newscast for the first time in 259 consecutive weeks. NBC's news program averaged 7.42 million viewers last week; ABC had 7.38 million.
Wednesday was Sawyer's final newscast. She was replaced this week by David Muir. ABC also received a boost last week because it had strong numbers on Monday night, particularly on the West Coast where NBC was telecasting the Emmys at the time.
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