NEW YORK (AP) — The deadly Boston Marathon bombings and the massive manhunt for two suspects helped television news, with Fox News Channel leading all cable networks in prime-time ratings for the first week since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Fox averaged 2.87 million viewers in prime time last week, topping the USA network, which had 2.62 million viewers. CNN finished in third place, the Nielsen ratings company said. MSNBC was No. 19 for the week.
The story, which began with two bombs exploding near the marathon's finish line on April 15, also brought more people to the broadcast network evening newscasts. The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, totaled together, averaged 25.6 million viewers last week. The week before, the three newscasts had 22 million viewers.
The networks stretched their normally half-hour newscasts to an hour on April 15 and on Friday, when the second of the two suspects, holed up in a tarp-covered boat outside a suburban Boston home, was captured by police during prime time. The first suspect, his older brother, had died after a shootout with police about a day earlier.
Meanwhile, NBC's "The Voice" seems to be settling into a position of eclipsing television's longtime leader, Fox's "American Idol." Both episodes of "The Voice" had larger audiences than "American Idol" last week.
CBS won the week in prime time, averaging 8.3 million viewers (5.3 rating, 9 share). 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.
ABC was second with a 6.6 million average (4.3, 7), Fox had 5.6 million (3.4, 6), NBC had 5.56 million (3.5, 6), the CW had 1.2 million (0.7, 1) and ION Television had 1.1 million (0.8, 1).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with 3.4 million viewers (1.8, 3). Telemundo had 1.6 million (0.8, 1), UniMas had 510,000 (0.3, 0), Estrella had 210,000 (0.1, 0) and Azteca had 90,000 (also 0.1, 0).
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.8 million viewers (6.6, 13). ABC's "World News" was second with 8.5 million (5.8, 12), and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.3 million viewers (4.9, 9).
For the week of April 15-21, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 14.45 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 14.16 million; "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 13.4 million; "Dancing With the Stars Results," ABC, 12.73 million; "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 12.71; "NCIS" (Tuesday, 9 p.m.), CBS, 12.61 million. "American Idol" (Thursday), Fox, 12.42 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 11.91 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 11.43 million; "The Big Bang Theory" (Thursday, 9 p.m.), CBS, 10.89 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 is a unit of News Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. Azteca America is a wholly owned subsidiary of TV Azteca S.A. de C.V.