Jul 28, 5:09 PM EDT

ABC strikes unexpected summertime gold with 'Celebrity Family Feud'



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NEW YORK (AP) -- The survey says: ABC's version of "Celebrity Family Feud" ended its run on Sunday as an unexpected summertime hit.

The Steve Harvey-hosted show, which aired six hour-long editions, averaged 9.1 million viewers and was the most-watched new television program this summer, the Nielsen company said. It more than doubled the viewership ABC had in the same time slot last year with "Wipeout."

"We had high hopes, but it certainly shot past all of them," said Rob Mills, senior vice president for alternative programming, late night and specials at ABC.

With all of the new programming constantly available, there's something to be said about a TV version of comfort food, Mills said. The syndicated game show has been on the air for some 40 years, and current host Harvey is a major star in his own right. Celebrities like Dr. Phil, Anthony Anderson, Penny Marshall, Cheryl Hines competed this summer, along with NFL stars and casts from "Duck Dynasty," "The Bachelor" and "Dancing With the Stars"

ABC had initially sought to match all-celebrity teams or casts from various TV programs all summer. But Mills credited Jennifer Mullin, the show's producer from Fremantle, for recognizing that one of Harvey's strengths is in how he relates to non-celebrities, so some of the stars brought family members to compete.

With these numbers, it's a good bet the show will return. Mills said it hasn't been determined yet whether "Celebrity Family Feud" episodes will play in non-summer months.

Caitlyn Jenner's new E! Entertainment documentary series debuted to good reviews and 2.7 million viewers on Sunday, Nielsen said. Univision made a rare appearance in Nielsen's Top 20 with its coverage of Sunday's soccer match between Mexico and Jamaica.

CBS won the week in prime time, averaging 5.1 million viewers. NBC had 4.5 million, ABC had 3.8 million, Fox had 2.5 million, Univision had 2.4 million, Telemundo had 1.4 million, ION Television had 1.1 million and the CW had 1 million.

The Disney Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 1.67 million viewers in prime time. Fox News Channel averaged 1.601 million, USA had 1.595 million, TNT had 1.58 million and HGTV had 1.56 million.

Continuing Lester Holt's strong summer, NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with 7.7 million viewers. ABC's "World News Tonight" had 7.4 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.1 million.

For the week of July 20-26, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 10.5 million; "Celebrity Family Feud," ABC, 8.71 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 7.91 million; "NCIS," CBS, 7.53 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 7.34 million; "The Bachelorette," ABC, 6.97 million; "Zoo," CBS, 6.69 million; "American Ninja Warrior," NBC, 6.68 million; "Last Comic Standing," NBC, 6.1 million; "Big Brother" (Sunday), CBS, 5.95 million.

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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.

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Online:

http://www.nielsen.com

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