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Sep 16, 5:21 PM EDT

Nielsen says first episode of PBS series 'Roosevelts' seen by 9 million


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NEW YORK (AP) -- Once again millions of television viewers are transporting themselves to another century under the guidance of Ken Burns.

An estimated 9.1 million people watched the first episode of Burns' seven-part series on Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt on Sunday. PBS aired it twice Sunday to maximize attention; the Nielsen company's estimate was the combined viewership of both episodes.

By way of comparison, the most-watched scripted series on the commercial networks last week, CBS' "Under the Dome," reached 6.6 million viewers, Nielsen said.

"Releasing a film is like having a conversation with your closest friends and family," Burns said. "I'm always struck by the thoughts and comments and how engaged the American people are. The fact that such a large audience tuned in ... is all the more rewarding."

Burns' reputation-making 1990 series, "Civil War," had 10.5 million viewers for its premiere episode, Nielsen said. His 2007 film on World War II had 8.9 million, and 2012's "Dust Bowl" documentary had 8.3 million, Nielsen said. Those historical numbers include viewing over a seven-day period; the 9 million figure for "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History" will increase when people who catch up to that first episode throughout the week are counted.

Otherwise, prime-time television was dominated by football and football-related programming last week.

An estimated 7.1 million people watched the "Miss America" competition on ABC. That was down from the 8.6 million people who watched last year, but still one of the bigger numbers reached by the pageant over the last decade.

CBS won the week in prime time, averaging 8.3 million viewers. NBC had 7.8 million viewers, ABC had 4.1, Fox had 2.9 million, Univision had 2.7 million, Telemundo had 1.3 million, ION Television had 1.2 million and the CW had 930,000.

ESPN was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 3.03 million viewers in prime time. Fox News Channel had 1.87 million, USA had 1.85 million, TBS had 1.76 million and the Disney Channel had 1.68 million.

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.6 million viewers. ABC's "World News" was second with 8.3 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.3 million viewers.

For the week of Sept. 8-14, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Chicago at San Francisco, NBC, 22.16 million; NFL Football: Pittsburgh at Baltimore, CBS, 20.77 million; "Sunday Night Pre-Kickoff," NBC, 16.69 million; "Thursday Night Pre-Kickoff," CBS, 13.86 million; NFL Football: N.Y. Giants at Detroit, ESPN, 13.73 million; "Football Night in America, Part 3," NBC, 12.36 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 12.29 million; NFL Football: San Diego vs. Arizona, ESPN, 11.52 million; "Thursday Night Pre-Game Show," CBS, 10.63 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday, 9 p.m.), NBC, 10.52 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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http://www.nielsen.com

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