Sarah Palin

AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato

Sarah Palin might just be what the Republicans need. To boost their TV ratings.

John McCain's surprising vice presidential pick was due to be the star attraction at tonight's Republican National Convention, which in the early going has failed to match the Democratic National Convention as a draw.

Last night's convention coverage was watched by about 21.5 million on six broadcast and cable networks, Nielsen Media Research said.

That's down a bit from the same GOP night in 2004 (22.2 million), and it's down a lot from the same Democratic night last week (26 million).

Nielsen didn't bother to tabulate Monday's ratings as the Republicans scuttled their prime-time show in deference to Hurricane Gustav.

Palin is tonight's scheduled prime-time speaker. Last Wednesday, her Democratic counterpart, Sen. Joe Biden, helped pull in 24 million.

Here, meanwhile, are the ratings highlights for the TV week ended Sunday:

  • CNN won the Barack Obama sweepstakes, with a TV-leading 8.1 million viewers for the presidential contender's Democratic convention speech.
  • CNN's speech coverage was the most-watched hour of anything in all of cable.
  • Not one night of the broadcast networks' convention coverage finished in the top 10 among young adult viewers.
  • Among cable networks, the GOP-friendly Fox News beat out left-leaning MSNBC on Obama night—4.2 million to 4.1 million.
  • On the night after Obama's speech, 3.9 million tuned in Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor for talking points.
  • Among non-Obama programming, TNT's The Closer (7.4 million) was the most-watched original scripted series; CBS' Two and a Half Men (9 million) was the most-watched rerun.
  • Other top cable performers: TNT's Saving Grace (4.3 million); Disney's Hannah Montana (3.9 million); and Disney's The Wizards of Waverly Place (3.7 million), which was rewarded with an additional episode order for its upcoming second season.
  • This season's Project Runway designers might not be as popular as last season's, but the ratings are just as strong, including 3.5 million for the car-parts episode.
  • MTV's The Hills (3.4 million) did its thing.
  • Lindsay Lohan did her thing without even trying. A Sunday night rerun of Herbie Fully Loaded averaged a solid 3.1 million for the Disney Channel.
  • Bravo's Shear Genius (2.5 million) scored more viewers than ever for its second-season finale, its network said; Oxygen's The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency (437,000) scored more young adults than ever for its fourth-season premiere, its network said.
  • NBC's America's Got Talent (11.1 million for Tuesday's episode; 10.3 million for Wednesday's) got renewed for a fourth season, but failed to match its summer average after returning from its Olympic layoff.
  • David Hasselhoff and crew, however, did put a hurt into ABC's Wipeout (6.3 million) on Tuesday.
  • The NBC reality series America's Toughest Jobs premiered before 7.3 million who apparently haven't heard of, or can't get enough of, Discovery's Dirty Jobs.

In a blah, end-of-summer week, NBC kept up its Olympic-winning ways thanks to America's Got Talent and an all-new Deal or No Deal (11 million). It was the most-watched network among all viewers (5.9 million) and young adults (2.2 million).

In cable, CNN (3.2 million) and Fox News (2.8 million) rode the Obama train straight to the top of the prime-time rankings.

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. America's Got Talent (Tuesday), NBC, 11.1 million
  2. Deal or No Deal (Monday), NBC, 11 million
  3. America's Got Talent (Wednesday), NBC, 10.3 million
  4. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 9 million
  5. 60 Minutes, CBS, 8 million
  6. NCIS, CBS, 7.5 million
  7. America's Toughest Jobs, NBC, 7.3 million
  8. Criminal Minds, CBS, 6.9 million
  9. House, Fox, 6.8 million
  10. The New Adventures of Old Christine, CBS, 6.6 million
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.