Vastly different audiences for favorite TV shows

Associated Press Modified: May 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm •  Published: May 8, 2012
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NEW YORK (AP) — "Dancing With the Stars" and "The Voice" are the most popular prime-time shows on their networks. Last week illustrated how they have very different audiences.

The Nielsen Co. said Tuesday that ABC's "Dancing" had 16.2 million viewers, good enough for third place in the weekly program ranking. NBC's "The Voice" was seen by 9.5 million, rated by No. 20.

Peel away some of the numbers and the differences are revealed. Nielsen said 11.86 million "Dancing" viewers, almost three-quarters, are over 49 years old. The median age of a "Dancing With the Stars" viewer is nearly 61.

Less than half of "The Voice" viewers, or 4 million, are 50-plus, with the median age just under 46. In the business of television advertising, younger is usually better.

In its second season, "The Voice" has gained viewers, a difficult feat in a season where the broadcast networks are clearly suffering. It has not taken off to the extent NBC had hoped after airing this season's first episode after the Super Bowl. This Monday's season finale had an audience of 10.5 million compared with 12.7 million last year, although it should be noted that this year's last episode aired against original, in-season programming while last year it was during the quieter month of June.

NBC's most-watched show of the week wasn't in prime time. It was the Kentucky Derby on Saturday afternoon, which attracted 14.8 million viewers. Only two other Derbys in the last 23 years had bigger audiences, Nielsen said.

CBS had another easy victory for the week in prime time, averaging 10.1 million viewers (6.3 rating, 11 share). With "American Idol" fading, ABC was a solid second with 7.7 million viewers (5.0, 8), and Fox slipped to third with 6.8 million (4.1, 7). NBC averaged 5.1 million (3.3, 6), the CW had 1.2 million (0.8, 1) and ION Television had 990,000 (0.7, 1).

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