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Did Howard Stern Kill America's Got Talent?

AMERICA'S GOT TALENT,  Howard Stern, Nick Cannon, Sharon Osbourne, Howie Mandel Virginia Sherwood/NBC

The TV ratings results are mixed for Howard Stern and America's Got Talent.

Monday's season premiere, featuring Stern's inaugural turn at the judge's table, held its own on a jam-packed night of finales, but ended up as the franchise's least-watched opener ever.

A look at the numbers:

MORE: Stern blasts Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears

The two-hour America's Got Talent averaged 10.3 million viewers, per early estimates, down a whopping 5 million from its 2011 premiere.

Dancing With the Stars, which went head to head with Talent from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., overshadowed the much-promoted Stern debut, with about 15 million viewers.

Among viewers 18 to 49 years old, however, the picture was reversed: Talent dominated Dancing.

In the early going, it's difficult to assess whether Talent's overall viewer defections are on the long-controversial Stern.

Monday not only marked Stern's first show, but Talent's first time out against end-of-the-season competition. Previously, the show had premiered during the less-heated summer. The early-bird premiere date seems to have been prompted by the Summer Olympics, which NBC will begin airing in late July.

So, maybe the defections are really all London's fault.

From 8-10 p.m., Talent went up against the finales of How I Met Your Mother (8.5 million viewers), Two and a Half Men (11.3 million viewers), Mike & Molly (11.6 million viewers), and the last-ever Bones (7.1 million viewers). Though only minor factors in the time slot, the CW shows Gossip Girl (1.2 million viewers) and Hart of Dixie (1.5 million viewers) also aired their respective season-ending episodes.

The Bachelorette, meanwhile, made its eighth-season debut. Versus last spring's premiere, the 90-minute episode was down in both viewers (8.3 million viewers) and the demo, but showed little fear of the Marilyn Monroe-revealing Smash finale at 10 p.m. (6.1 million viewers). In the same hour, The Bachelorette was no match for Hawaii Five-O (11.3 million viewers), which aired its season closer.

On the night, Two and a Half Men posted the highest 18-49 rating. Talent tied with the special, hourlong HIMYM for second.

Meanwhile, here's a look at the TV week's top 10 most-watched broadcast shows, per the latest Nielsen rankings:

  1. NCIS, 18.2 million viewers
  2. American Idol (Wednesday), 16.5 million viewers
  3. Dancing With the Stars (Monday), 16.4 million viewers
  4. American Idol (Thursday), 15.6 million viewers
  5. NCIS: Los Angeles, 14.6 million viewers
  6. The Big Bang Theory, 13.72 million viewers
  7. Dancing With the Stars (Tuesday), 13.7 million viewers
  8. Person of Interest, 13 million viewers
  9. The Mentalist, 12.6 million viewers
  10. Castle, 12.4 million viewers

(Originally posted at 9:48 a.m. PT on May 15, 2012.)

PHOTOS: 2012 May Finale Spoiler-ama!

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