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NBC hopes talent show can sink ‘Rising Star’

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POSTED June 24, 2014 10:06 p.m.

NEW YORK (AP) — NBC is fighting amateur with amateur.

With rival ABC pinning much of its hopes for summer success behind the interactive new talent show, “Rising Star,” that debuted Sunday, NBC made a last-minute schedule change to distract potential viewers.

NBC scheduled a special Sunday night version of “America’s Got Talent,” already established as summer’s most popular competition, to directly compete with “Rising Star.” That move prevented the ABC show from getting off to a fast start: “America’s Got Talent” had 8.1 million viewers, and “Rising Star” had 5.2 million, according to the Nielsen Co.

It was closer among viewers ages 18 to 49 years old, the demographic that both networks care most about (NBC’s 2.67 million to ABC’s 1.93 million). Since viewer engagement is important to “Rising Star,” ABC said it was happy that more than a million people downloaded the show’s app, and viewers cast 5.6 million votes for the show’s contestants.

The U.S.-Portugal World Cup soccer game was the most popular program on TV in the past week, although it is not counted in the prime-time rankings because ESPN’s telecast started earlier in the evening.

CBS won the week in prime time, averaging 5 million viewers. NBC had 4.9 million, ABC had 4.1 million, Univision had 3.02 million, Fox had 2.95 million, Telemundo had 1.5 million, ION Television had 1.1 million and the CW had 1 million.

Behind World Cup soccer, ESPN was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.59 million viewers in prime time. TNT had 2.32 million, USA had 1.95 million, The Disney Channel had 1.89 million and TBS had 1.57 million.

NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8 million viewers. ABC’s “World News” was second with 7 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6 million viewers.

For the week of June 16-22, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “America’s Got Talent” (Tuesday), NBC, 11.42 million; “America’s Got Talent” (Sunday), NBC, 8.12 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 7.82 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 7.67 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 6.72 million; “The Bachelorette,” ABC, 6.5 million; “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 6.42 million; “Night Shift,” NBC, 6.25 million; “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 6.19 million; “Dateline NBC,” NBC, 6.02 million.

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