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Bristol vs. Sarah: Whose Star Is Really On the Rise? (And Whose Isn't?)

Sarah Palin, Bristol Palin, DWTS Adam Larkey/ABC via Getty Images

Bristol Palin. Sarah Palin. Gwyneth Paltrow. Anne Hathaway.  

Big names, big Nielsens? Not necessarily.

Let's find out who's up—and who's down—in the latest TV ratings quiz.

MORE: There's no caging Bristol  in DWTS finale dance-off

1. Up or down: Bristol Palin…? Last night's Dancing With the Stars (estimated 23.2 million viewers for the first hour) was bigger than the week before that (20.7 million), which was bigger than the week before that (20 million), which was… Get the picture? Be afraid, Jennifer Grey, be very afraid.

2. Sarah Palin…? A funny thing happened on the way to the 2012 presidential election, Sunday's installment of Sarah Palin's Alaska blew a whopping 40 percent of its premiere-week audience. But before President Barack Obama or even Bristol gets too cocky, let it be said the TLC show still won the approval of a cable-big 3 million viewers. 

3. Gwyneth Paltrow…? The Oscar winner's surprisingly funny, loose and—did we already say funny?—turn on Glee boosted the show week to week, from 11 million viewers to 11.7 million.

4. Anne Hathaway…? The Oscar-nominated actress' surprisingly funny, loose and Katie Holmes-mocking turn on Saturday Night Live boosted the late-night show over its Scarlett Johansson-hosted installment. 

5. Conan O'Brien The TBS talker was down a Sarah Palin-esque 41 percent from his premiere week, averaging 1.7 million viewers versus his out-of-the-gate 2.9 million. Like Sarah Palin's Alaska, Conan's overall performance was big (especially for a TBS talker).

6. Justin Bieber…? On one hand, the Bieber-dominated American Music Awards reached the awards-show's smallest audience in four years (11.7 million). On the other hand, the show's ratings among presumably Bieber-infatuated kids and teens were up.

7. Fringe…? The upside: The Joshua Jackson series was up in the demo and in total viewers (to 4.85 million) from the previous week. The downside: It's still being shipped off to Fridays.

8. CW Shows In the lastest DVR-adjusted weekly rankings, the network, led by Gossip Girl, gained more viewers, percentage-wise, than the broadcast competition.

9. Chase…? Does it matter if you're up or down, if your demo rating in the latest standings was weaker than that of Medium—make that, the cancelled Medium? (For the record, Chase was neither up nor down.)

10. Walking Dead…? The zombies remain on the march, up to 4.8 million viewers. Other cable standouts: the iCarly special, iStart a Fan War (5 million); Sons of Anarchy (3.4 million); and The Real Housewives of Atlanta (3 million). 

Here were the week's 10 most-watched (non-football) shows among all-important 18-49 year-olds, per the Nielsen Media Research broadcast rankings: 

  1. Glee (6.6 million demo viewers; 11.7 million overall viewers)
  2. Modern Family (6.3 millio demo viewers; 12.1 million overall viewers)
  3. Two and a Half Men (5.9 million demo viewers; 14.3 million overall viewers)
  4. The Big Bang Theory (5.7 million demo viewers; 13 million overall viewers)
  5. Grey's Anatomy (5.634 million demo viewers; 11.5 million overall viewers)
  6. 2010 American Music Awards (5.63 million demo viewers; 11.7 million overall viewers)
  7. House (5.3 million demo viewers; 10.8 million overall viewers)
  8. Dancing With the Stars (Monday) (5.26 million demo viewers; 20.7 million overall viewers)
  9. NCIS (5.2 million demo viewers; 19.4 million overall viewers)
  10. The Office (5 million demo viewers; 7.3 million overall viewers)
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