'America's Got Talent' finale gives boost to NBC

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NBC shows host Tyra Banks, left, with Shin Lim, winner of this season's

NBC shows host Tyra Banks, left, with Shin Lim, winner of this season's "America's Got Talent." The Nielsen company says just under 13 million people watched the final two episodes of the NBC competition last week. (Trae Patton/NBC via AP) (Photo: Trae Patton)

NEW YORK (AP) — "America's Got Talent" ended its summer run last week with the most-watched entertainment programs on television since May, although its popularity dipped this summer.

Just under 13 million people watched the final two episodes of the NBC competition last week, where magician Shin Lim was chosen as the winner. While those were bigger audiences than any entertainment show since the last original episode of "The Big Bang Theory," Wednesday's finale was down 18 percent from the 2017 season finale, the Nielsen company said.

Last season was an anomaly for the talent show, which had its highest ratings ever during its 12th season. Young ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer was a popular winner in 2017. Overall, viewership for the main Tuesday edition of the show was down 11 percent from last year, Nielsen said.

Still, "America's Got Talent" remains by far the most popular television series of the summer, and NBC is planning a midseason edition this year for the first time.

That series, along with a Sunday night football matchup, led NBC to a dominant week in the television ratings, nearly doubling its closest rival in audience size.

NBC averaged 8.2 million viewers for the week. CBS was second with 4.2 million, Fox had 4 million, ABC had 2.7 million, Univision has 1.33 million, Telemundo had 1.32 million, ION Television had 1.2 million and the CW had 650,000.

Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.71 million viewers in prime time. ESPN had 2.55 million, MSNBC had 1.88 million, HGTV had 1.31 million and USA had 1.3 million.

ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.2 million viewers, and scored its biggest season advantage over NBC in 22 years. Last week the "NBC Nightly News" averaged 7.6 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.6 million.

For the week of Sept. 17-23, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: New England at Detroit, NBC, 19.46 million; "NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 13 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 12.99 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 12.88 million; NFL Football: Seattle at Chicago, ESPN, 11.89 million; "The OT," Fox, 11.55 million; "Emmy Awards," NBC, 10.22 million; "911," Fox, 9.83 million; "Football Night in America," NBC, 9.13 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 8.99 million.

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ABC and ESPN are 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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