May 3, 4:47 PM EDT

"The Big Bang Theory" was television's most popular comedy last week _ by a large margin



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"The Big Bang Theory" was television's most popular comedy last week _ by a large margin

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NEW YORK (AP) -- "The Big Bang Theory" was the comedy winner in television last week - by a landslide.

The long-running CBS sitcom was seen by 14.1 million people last Thursday, easily the week's most-watched program, the Nielsen company said. The next closest comedy was CBS' "Mom," which had 8.3 million viewers.

CBS was television's most popular network, as it usually is unless one of its competitors is airing a special event.

Nielsen, at a news conference Tuesday, unveiled data that illustrates how the myriad of ways people can watch television these days is boosting the viewership for some programs. Some programming, like sports, is almost always watched live, but that's not the case with much prime-time entertainment.

For example, for one episodic drama - Nielsen would not reveal the specific show - 61 percent of viewers saw it either live or on DVR within a week, 25 percent saw between eight and 25 days, and 14 percent saw it between 36 and 121 days.

Nielsen hadn't previously revealed viewership so distant from a show's original airing. While reality shows and serial dramas are commonly watched live or quite close to when they originally air, self-contained dramas and comedies have a better chance of being watched weeks if not months after they are shown for the first time.

The people who do this kind of time-shifting are likely to be younger - just the kind of audience television advertisers want to reach, Nielsen said.

CBS won last week in prime time, averaging 7.5 million viewers. NBC had 5.4 million viewers, ABC had 5.1 million, Fox had 3.2 million, Univision had 2.1 million, the CW had 1.6 million, Telemundo had 1.5 million and ION Television had 1.3 million.

TNT was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.59 million viewers. Fox News Channel had 2 million, ESPN had 1.9 million, USA had 1.5 million and the Disney Channel had 1.45 million.

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.3 million viewers. ABC's "World News" was second with 8 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 7 million viewers.

For the week of April 25-May 1, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 14.13 million; "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 11.75 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 10.34 million; "NCIS," CBS, 10.25 million; "Blue Bloods," CBS, 10.13 million; "Little Big Shots," NBC, 10.1 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 10.07 million; "Empire," Fox, 10.03 million; "Madam Secretary," CBS, 9.9 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 9.49 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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