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)

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