Miss North Carolina got the crown. Miss California got the gay-marriage question. Perez Hilton got some nice pub for asking the latter. And the Miss USA Pageant got? Well, it got its smallest audience ever.
Last night's bathing-suit parade averaged 5 million viewers, per preliminary Nielsen estimates, down a fairly standard 12 percent from last year, and a pretty steep 32 percent from 2007.
The bad news-bad news situation for California representative Carrie Prejean is that while nobody saw her on TV, everybody's seeing her face-off with Hilton on YouTube.
Elsewhere in the weekend ratings:
• Prison Break was back—and making Dollhouse look good. The returning series averaged 3.4 million on Friday; Dollhouse was averaging 4 million in the same time slot for Fox.
• Desperate Housewives (13.6 million) was back to dominating as the No. 1 show in total viewers and the 18-49 demographic.
• Brothers & Sisters (9.6 million) was also back, and also solid.
• The premiering Sit Down, Shut Up (5.2 million) was the weakish link between The Simpsons (6.5 million) and Family Guy (7.4 million).
• The Amazing Race (10.4 million) was the most-watched reality series; The Celebrity Apprentice (8.3 million) was the highest-rated in the demo.
• The Anna Paquin TV movie The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler (9.8 million), killed among the AARP-eligible.
(Originally published April 20, 2009, at 11:11 a.m. PT)