Sep 1, 3:18 PM EDT

MTV's 'VMA Awards' helped by airing across several Viacom networks



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NEW YORK (AP) -- MTV boosted the viewership of its annual Video Music Awards, this year hosted by Miley Cyrus, with a little help from its friends.

The Nielsen company said just over 5 million people watched the program on MTV on Sunday night, which would have represented a sharp drop from last year's 8.3 million and the 10.1 million who watched in 2013.

Instead, MTV's corporate parent Viacom aired the show simultaneously on 10 separate networks. It was seen on MTV and its offshoots, but also on Comedy Central, BET, CMT, TV Land and Logo. Add in that viewership and MTV said the awards were seen by 9.8 million people, with the show still being seen in reruns or on DVRs.

While that boosted the show's numbers, critics of the strategy warn that if overused, it can muddy the focus of specific networks with programming that has little to do with their missions.

NBC said its "Carmichael Show" debuted last week to 4.8 million viewers, the largest audience for any summertime comedy in eight years.

CBS won the week with an average of 5.4 million viewers in prime time. NBC had 5 million, ABC had 3.4 million, Fox had 2.3 million, Univision had 2 million, Telemundo had 1.4 million, ION Television had 1.2 million and the CW had 1.1 million.

Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 1.94 million viewers in prime time. ESPN had 1.8 million, the Disney Channel had 1.77 million, USA had 1.65 million and TNT had 1.58 million.

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.4 million viewers. ABC's "World News Tonight" was second with 7.6 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.5 million viewers.

For the week of Aug. 24-30, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 10.34 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 8.53 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 8.46 million; "NCIS," CBS, 8.39 million; "Fear the Walking Dead," AMC, 8.18 million; Exhibition Football: Arizona vs. Oakland, NBC, 7.51 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 7.25 million; "Big Brother" (Sunday), CBS, 6.73 million; "Big Brother" (Wednesday), CBS, 6.46 million; "Big Brother" (Thursday), CBS, 6.37 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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