Maybe if they'd slimed Jon Stewart...

Unlike this year's Oscars, the 2008 Kids' Choice Awards drew a record audience—and more viewers than either CBS' People's Choice Awards or NBC's Golden Globes "announcements" special.

The Nickelodeon telecast averaged 7.4 million, per Nielsen Media Research, tops for cable.

With its talent for pulling in 30 million plus even in off years, the Oscars remains TV's most watched awards ceremony. Still, the show took a hit when February's Stewart-hosted ceremony posted the Academy's worst ratings ever.

After suffering a bad fall of its own in 2003, the Kids' Choice Awards has enjoyed five straight up years, with record ratings in each of the last three years.

Saturday's Jack Black-hosted show, in which slime is traditionally dumped by the green bucketful, and the business of plugging summer movies to impressionable ticket buyers is as key as honoring the film work of the Chipmunks, was up 22 percent over last year. By comparison, the Oscars were down about 20 percent.

Really, would gowns and tuxedos look so bad with a little green goop?

Here are other ratings highlights from the TV week ended Sunday:

  • This year's American Idol may have stronger singers, but last year's had Sanjaya. And compared to last year's performance show featuring the Top 10 finalists, this year's was lighter by nearly 4 million viewers (second place, 24.8 million).
  • It's also possible that Tuesday's Dancing with the Stars (third place, 20.5 million) iced Tuesday's Idol just a bit. 
  • In any case, Idol was still No. 1—it's just that, for a change, it was Wednesday's results show that took the honors, averaging 25.7 million viewers, only about 1 million viewers down from last year's like telecast. 
  • As for Dancing, apparently it's a bit more interesting to watch Monica Seles "dance" than it is to see her and Penn Jillette eliminated (fourth place, 17.5 million). 
  • Among shows enjoying their poststrike premieres, CBS' CSI: Miami (fifth place, 16.1 million) enjoyed the biggest with its most watched episode of the season.
  • Piers Morgan is no Bill Rancic, but his hire did help NBC's Apprentice to the franchise's best finale numbers (10th place, 12.1 million) since the conclusion of season four.
  • And for the final indignity to be suffered by CBS' Jericho  (59th place, 6 million), its final episode got beat out by a Law & Order: SVU rerun (27th place, 8.6 million).
  • Keith Olbermann's Countdown became a cable hit by drawing more than 1 million viewers to the politics-and-prisoners mashup that is MSNBC. On NBC, for a special Sunday outing, the show averaged 3.3 million, but got buried by CBS' college basketball and 60 Minutes (eighth place, 13.4 million).
  • In cable, the season finale of MTV's America's Best Dance Crew (5.3 million) actually outdrew the third season, part two, premiere of The Hills (4.8 million). So can executive producer Randy Jackson get the cover of Us Weekly now, too?
  • Part-two season premieres are all the rage and/or gimmick, with the first season, part two, premiere of ABC Family's Greek averaging a series high 1.4 million.
  • The dance-along version of Disney Channel's High School Musical 2 encouraged 4.4 million to at least think about moving.

Overall, Fox again dominated in total viewers (9.9 million) and 18- to 49-year-olds, although CBS closed the gap in viewers (9.5 million), thanks to its returning series, in general, and the cameo-willing Britney Spears, in particular.

ABC (8.8 million) and NBC (7.7 million) featured no comeback-minded pop stars.

USA (2.6 million) was the top cable network in prime time, followed by Disney (2.57 million) and TBS (2.1 million).

Here's a look at the 10 most watched broadcast network prime-time shows for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research:

1. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 25.7 million viewers
2. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 24.8 million viewers
3. Dancing with the Stars (Monday), ABC, 20.5 million viewers
4. Dancing with the Stars (Tuesday), ABC, 17.5 million viewers
5. CSI: Miami, CBS, 16.1 million viewers
6. NCAA Men's Basketball Post Gun (Sunday), CBS, 14.4 million
7. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 14.2 million viewers
8. 60 Minutes, CBS, 13.4 million viewers
9. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, ABC, 13 million viewers
10. The Celebrity Apprentice, 12.1 million viewers

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