There's nothing like a train wreck--or Star Jones Reynolds--to draw gawkers.
CNN's Larry King Live and NBC's Today show both benefited mightily last week from Reynolds' rap about her messy departure from The View, the latest Nielsen Media Research ratings show.
The Thursday Larry King Live, featuring Reynolds' truth-telling declaration, enticed 3 million viewers, nearly triple what the cable show averaged the rest of week.
The Friday Today, featuring Reynolds' wedding-planning mea culpa, attracted 6 million, TVNewser.com said, leading the morning news show to a big victory over ABC rival Good Morning America.
Ratings for The View, which featured Reynolds' unscheduled exit announcement and, one day later, headmistress Barbara Walters' measured tongue lashing, were not known.
Also not known was whether former Moesha star/R&B singer Brandy was merely a guest host on Monday's show or a Reynolds replacement in training. Speculation has suggested the latter. The Associated Press, which monitored the episode, reported that the 27-year-old entertainer, late of NBC's America's Got Talent, was rather quiet, but deigned "adorable" by one very important person--Walters.
Brandy is scheduled to be back on The View on Friday. Reynolds, meanwhile, is scheduled to host HGTV's House Hunters for a one-week stint beginning next Monday. According to the New York Daily News, the shows were taped prior to the recriminations, the reprisals--and the ratings.
Elsewhere in the Nielsen race for the TV week ended Sunday:
One summer after Dancing with the Stars sizzled, America's Got Talent (first place, 11 million) is merely simmering. The concluding half of Robert Duvall's AMC miniseries, Broken Trail, was as strong as the first half. Its 9.8 million viewers were tops among all cable shows--and all but five broadcast network shows. What is a Janet Jackson reunion with the cast of Good Times worth? A dyn-o-mite 6.6 million viewers for the 2006 BET Awards. That's a bigger audience than pulled in by recent cable extravaganzas such as the 2006 MTV Movie Awards (3.2 million) and the 12th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (3 million). It's Kirk "Sticky" Jones' world; a good number of us just watch it. To be precise about it, 2.5 million were bitten by the premiere of Blade: The Series, starring the aforementioned Mr. Sticky. Spike TV hailed the show as its "most-watched original series premiere in network history"--all three years of it. TNT's The Closer (5.6 million) has been renewed for a third season. New sci-fi series Kyle XY did well for ABC Family Channel (2.6 million); the repeat of its premiere did even better for plain old ABC (42nd place, 5.2 million). U.S. viewers do, too, pay attention to soccer. If it wasn't ESPN's coverage of the Brazil-France match drawing 3.8 million, it was a Disney Channel screening of Air Bud: World Pup drawing 2.4 million. Likewise, it could be argued that U.S. viewers do not pay attention to soccer. ESPN coverage of a World Cup match between Italy and Australia (1.7 million), for instance, was outdrawn by ESPN coverage of a 71-minute baseball rain delay (1.8 million). Where the TV nation's priorities really lie: More people watched comic Kathy Najimy outlast Baywatch alum Brande Roderick in a Family Feud fight to the finish on the finale of CBS' Gameshow Marathon (27th place, 6.8 million) than watched any single sport on cable or network TV, save for Fox's coverage of NASCAR's Pepsi 400 (13th place, 8.2 million). Fox's So You Think You Can Dance (eighth place, 8.8 million for Wednesday's edition; ninth place, 8.5 million for Thursday's) did its thing, as did Fox's Hell's Kitchen (16th place, 8 million) and NBC's Last Comic Standing (23rd place, 7.1 million). NBC's Windfall (48th place, 4.7 million) and ABC's How to Get the Guy (88th place, 3.1 million) did their thing, as well: not much.
In the battle of the networks, CBS rode its crime-show reruns to another weekly win. The most watched network averaged 7.4 million viewers, followed by Fox (6.2 million), NBC (5.8 million) and ABC (4.3 million).
Here's a look at the 10 most watched prime-time shows for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research:
1. America's Got Talent, NBC, 11 million viewers
2. Without a Trace, CBS, 10.9 million viewers
3. CSI: Miami, CBS, 10.8 million viewers
4. CSI, CBS, 10.6 million viewers
5. House, Fox, 9.9 million viewers
6. CSI: NY, CBS, 9.2 million viewers
7. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 8.9 million viewers
8. So You Think You Can Dance (Wednesday), Fox, 8.8 million viewers
9. So You Think You Can Dance (Thursday), Fox, 8.5 million viewers
10. CBS Sunday Movie (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days), CBS, 8.4 million viewers