TV Ratings Sunday: 'Billboard Music Awards' Leads ABC to Nightly Win, 'Celebrity Apprentice' Sees Finale Low

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May 21st, 2012

Adults 18-49: Rating/Share 2.4/7 1.9/6 1.6/5 1.3/4 1.0/3
Adults 18-34: Rating/Share 1.9/6 1.8/6 1.0/3 0.6/2 1.0/3
Total Viewers (million) 6.981 4.058 5.551 11.316 2.849


ABC won the night in adults 18-49, but CBS claimed victory with  total viewers. 

On ABC, America's Funniest Videos season finale earned a 1.5 adults 18-49 rating, down a tenth from last week's 1.6  adults 18-49 rating. The 2012 Billboard Music Awards earned a 2.7 18-49 rating and was the highest-rated program of the evening, despite tying it's all-time ratings low, set in 2006.

On CBS, back to back episodes of 60 Minutes earned a 1.4 and1.5 adults 18-49 rating, both up from last week's 1.2 rating. Made-for-TV movie Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt at 9PM earned 1.2 among adults 18-49 but was the most-watched program of the evening.

On Fox, The Cleveland Show season finale was even with last week's 1.3 rating among adults 18-49.  The Simpsons finale was up two-tenths to a 2.1 from last week's 1.9 adults 18-49 rating. Bob's Burgers was down a tenth to a 1.7 from last week's 1.8 in adults 18-49. An hour-long Family Guy was up two-tenths from last week's  2.3, earning a 2.5 adults 18-49 rating.

On NBC, the finale of Celebrity Apprentice was up four-tenths, drawing a 2.2 compared to last week's 1.8 among adults 18-49. However, this was the lowest-rated finale episode of the series to date.

Broadcast primetime ratings for Sunday, May 20, 2012:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating 18-49 Share Viewers Live+SD (million)
7:00PM ABC America's Funniest Home Videos 1.5 5 5.817
CBS 60 Minutes 1.4 5 5.000
FOX The Simpsons -R 1.0 4 2.338
NBC America's Got Talent -R 1.0 3 4.282
7:30PM FOX The Cleveland Show 1.3 4 3.030
8:00PM ABC Billboard Music Awards (8-11P)  2.7  7  7.400
CBS 60 Minutes 1.5 4 10.128
FOX The Simpsons 2.1 7 4.790
8:30PM FOX Bob's Burgers 1.7 5 3.568
9:00PM FOX Family Guy 2.5 6 5.286
NBC The Celebrity Apprentice (9-11p) 2.2 6 6.820
CBS Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt (9-11P) 1.2 3 12.766

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2012 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.


Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings, including demographics, are available at approximately 11 AM (ET) the day after telecast, and are released to subscribing customers daily. These data, from the National People Meter sample, are strictly time-period information, based on the normal broadcast network feed, and include all programming on the affiliated stations, sometimes including network programming, sometimes not. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. For example, with a World Series game, Fast Affiliate Ratings would include whatever aired from 8-11PM on affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, following the live baseball game, but not game coverage that begins at 5PM PT. The same would be true of Presidential debates as well as live award shows and breaking news reports.

Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.

Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)

Time Shifted Viewing – Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live+Same Day (Live+SD) and Live+7 Day. Time shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs. Live+Same Day (Live+SD) include viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3:00AM local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live+7 Day ratings include incremental viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

For more information see Numbers 101 and Numbers 102.

  • MoHasanie


    Yeah I think those are the wrong ratings, cause that would mean the awards averaged 3.3 for the night. And, I think he also made a mistake with the Simpsons ratings, cause, according to him, it got a 1.9.

  • Justin121

    The 2012 Billboard Music Awards earned a something.

  • Freyja

    Didn’t know or didn’t care about the Billboard Music Awards, music sucks today with a few exceptions. But alas I was playing Diablo 3 last night instead.

    Who cares if Jesse Stone skews old, CBS knows this and they still keep ordering the series. Why because it delivers and does the job.

  • Lane

    Terrible Celebrity Apprentice winner. Aubrey Oday will always be my winner

  • Angela Lansbury

    My word, a misstep by NBC pulling the finale of Harry’s Law for a repeat that did not do any better than my dear Ms. Bates would have.

  • Gary A

    A few observations/thoughts/comments/questions:

    1.) Why would TCS be a better value at 1.3 with 3 million viewers for an advertiser than 60 Minutes with a 1.4 and 10 million viewers?

    2.) If the theory constantly espoused on TBTN is that advertisers don’t pay for those viewers outside the 18 – 49 demographic ( which is actually a misstatement but more on that if asked for ) because they are so easy to reach because they watch so much tv, then why aren’t they watching FG or TCA or TCS etc? More people tuned into watch Tom Sellecks’ Jesse Stone movie than FG and TCA combined. Like any viewer they have preferences and likes and watch shows accordingly.

    3.) The majority of prime time sponsors usually buy time on almost every show that every network airs, regardless of the demo. McDonalds, for example, has ads on many shows that often are in competition with each other. Why? the more people that see the ads, the more people who should frequent their business. Same with car manufacturers, department stores, food products,etc. They may pay more to advertise on show x because it has higher 18 – 49 demos, but they are also trying to reach as many viewers as possible, so they may be on shows y and z too.

    4.) I would be curious to know how many of the same advertisers last night ran spots on all 4 networks. Wouldn’t be surprised that some of the same spots were seen on Jesse Stone, FG, TCA and BMA. ( Oh, fyi – I didn’t watch any of those shows myself – I watched The Killing on AMC, took my dog and cat out for a walk and then watched Source Code on Showtime on Demand ).

    5.) To the people who always make jokes about older skewing series being sponsored by adult diapers, erection medications, metamucil, scooter chairs,etc. , they don’t usaully advertise that much on prime time network programming. I will say this again – 2/3 or more of the the same sponsors who advertised on BMA probably advertised on Jesse Stone as well. Now your local station may have sold spots between to those advertisesr, but I doubt that many.

    6. ) I watched a great deal of daytime tv when I was laid up a month ago and a great many advertisers on daytime tv are not the same ones who advertise on primetime tv. I did see more scooter chairs and the likes on daytime. Haven’t really seen too many of those on primetime.

    7.) I have been visiting TBTN for a couple of years now and some of the comments about shows that don’t seem hip or modern ( ie; HL and Jesse Stone ) and do great in viewers but lousy in the demo were funny at first. Now many just seem snarky and mean spirited. If your show is pulling a 3.0 or higher in the demo and is attracting 6 million viewers, then feel free to make comments. If your show pulls a low 2 or mid 1 and has less than 4 million viewers and the show you’re making fun of has more than twice the viewers and roughly .5 less in the demo, you really don’t have too much to brag about.


  • Dean_W

    Hope ‘The Simpsons’ will be Up Next Year but I’m sure it’s normal for a Show that old (23 Seasons completed and Renewed for two more) to be low.

  • SarahL

    Good grief, there is absolutely no need for these long rambling diatribes that some of you insist on. Be concise. Four to five sentences are more than enough to most points across.

    @Angela Lansbury

    AGT’s repeat 1.0 demo is better than Harry’s Law latest demos.

  • cc


    Completely agree with you. Except I was going thru dvds. Certainly not watching network tv.

    What’s funny is that 60 Minutes is yet another show that doesn’t get that young demo but it’s been around for more then 20 years. Imagine that. If it was on nbc, it wouldn’t have made 13 weeks.

  • cc

    @Gary A

    Great post!

  • Victor Hugo

    Acordding to the press release, Billboard Music Awards had a 2.7/7 Adults 18-49!

  • Captain Wacky

    Thank God, that animation domination got crushed again.

    The Simpsons.. really needs to be cancelled, it’s gotten so terrible.

    Bob’s Burgers and American Dad! are the only two animated shows Fox has left on Sundays that anyone should still be watching.

  • atlanta

    @Gary A Great post, well thought out, better than the 4-5 sentence snark we usually get here. I say, keep it up.

  • LAShawn

    As in Logan Run after age 49 you should be killed. Well at least with this plan you get an additional 19 years then in that movie. But then the desirable demo would move to something like 18-18.5 year olds is the only audience the networks care about.

  • Freddy Arrow

    @Big Tim

    “Puzzles me why the ratings for Jesse Stone are so low in the 18-49 demo. It’s very well done, much better than the usual fare on broadcast tv, a bit dark and brooding but goodstuff just the same. You’d think demo side of the the upper, say the 35 on up, would get it.”

    You know, I’d probably enjoy the movie just fine if I sat down and watched it, but there’s lots of popular movies I still haven’t seen, so if I’m going to sit down and watch a movie, its not going to be a made-for-TV movie that I would probably only think is OK. Last night I spent this time seeing the Avengers, but normally that would mean grabbing a Netflix CD or hitting the local RedBox. It’s too easy to see whatever movies we want now a days for most people to spend time watching a movie on broadcast network television.

  • r0ckmypants

    Why is it so hard for people to write out the names of shows? I can hardly read some of these posts because they’re all acronyms.

    A18-49 FG TCS and TCA against AGT AD TS BB. NBC screwed HL, but CBS and JSBOTD did worse.

    Good God.

  • K

    Simpsons have been on for too long.

  • chris

    Harry’s Law finale will air on the 25th.

  • DW

    we can now say fox sunday is for syndication too since they are doing lousy.

  • Joseph

    There is a difference between Harry’s Law and Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt , Harry’s Law had 1/2 the viewers.
    As for runnin Jesse, it was probably a smart move since it was up against a Billboard Special , at least this way they gave viewers an alternative to badly done music acts :)

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