Two television specials with decades-long traditions took opposite ratings directions last night. NBC’s telecast of the 61st Miss USA Pageant (2.2/6 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers) was up 57% in the demo and 37% in total viewers from last year — when it aired in-season, on May 16 — while CBS’ broadcast of the 38th Daytime Emmy Awards (0.8/3 in 18-49) was down 27% from last year. In both cases, the 2011-to-2010 comparisons are not apples-to-apples as both events changed Sunday time slots. The shift is particularly significant for Miss USA, which aired in the far less trafficked 7-9 PM slot last year, and was upgraded to 9-11 PM this year. The pageant, which was executive produced for the first time by Dick Clark Prods, matched its highest 18-49 rating in six years and drew its largest audience in four years. The time-period change for Miss USA may have been prompted by NBC’s coverage of the final round of the US Open golf tournament, which bled into primetime, dominating the opening 7-7:30 PM half-hour of primetime. NBC is projected to win the night in 18-49 and total viewers when final Sunday numbers are released tomorrow. For the Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS, which drew 5.4 million viewers, the time-period shift was more subtle, from 9-11 PM last year to 8-10 PM this year. For the night, CBS finished second in viewers to NBC and tied for third with ABC in 18-49, behind NBC and Fox which, along with ABC, aired reruns.
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