History's "Hatfields & McCoys" turned back singers, dancers, reruns and anything else broadcast television networks could throw at it.
The cable network special was the most-watched event in prime-time television last week, not just once but three times, the Nielsen company said. The third part of the miniseries was seen by 14.3 million people, after the first two parts had 13.9 million and 13.1 million respectively.
The best that broadcast networks could muster last week was the Tuesday edition of NBC's "America's Got Talent," which was seen by 11.5 million people.
It's still rare for a program on a cable network to have more viewers than anything on broadcast TV, and it doesn't happen outside television's summer season. It happened at the end of last summer with the MTV Video Music Awards and in August 2007 with the premiere of Disney Channel's "High School Musical 2."
CBS won the ratings crown last week primarily because its viewers have more tolerance for reruns than fans of the other networks. The top 14 scripted reruns on Nielsen's list of top programs last week were all on CBS.
CBS averaged 5.9 million viewers in prime time (4.0 rating, 7 share). NBC had 4.8 million (3.0, 5), ABC had 4.7 million (3.2, 5), Fox had 3.5 million (2.2, 4), ION Television had 1.1 million (0.8, 1) and the CW had 810,000 (0.6, 1).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with a 3.3 million viewership average (1.7 rating, 3 share), Telemundo had 1.1 million (0.6, 1), TeleFutura had 680,000 (0.4, 1), Estrella had 180,000 and Azteca 110,000 (both 0.1, 0).
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.9 million viewers (5.3, 11). ABC's "World News" was second with 6.9 million (4.7, 10) and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.8 million viewers (4, 8).
A ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.7 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For the week of May 28-June 3, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday, 9 p.m.), NBC, 11.51 million; "NCIS," CBS, 10.25 million; "America's Got Talent" (Monday), NBC, 9.96 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 9.77 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 8.79 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday, 8 p.m.), NBC, 7.428 million; "Person of Interest," CBS, 7.425 million; "The Mentalist," CBS, 7.27 million; "So You Think You Can Dance," Fox, 7.15 million; "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 7.06 million.
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 and My Network TV are units of News Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. TeleFutura is a division of Univision. Azteca America is a wholly owned subsidiary of TV Azteca S.A. de C.V.