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'24: Redemption' earns solid rating; AMAs grow

24_scb39_452After 18 months off the air, the return of Fox's "24" as a two-hour stand-alone movie managed to rank as the highest-rated scripted program Sunday night.

Representing the final title disrupted by the writers strike to reappear on broadcast television, "24: Redemption" was seen by 12 million viewers and hit a 4.0 preliminary rating among adults 18 to 49. The adult demo rating landed in the lower end of Friday's prediction of how the program might perform, but nonetheless represents a solid figure that could prime viewers for the regular series when it returns in January.

Facing intense competition from NBC's "Sunday Night Football" and ABC's presentation of the American Music Awards, the "24" event was up 3% from the show's last original episode -- the sixth season finale in May of 2007. If compared to the show's season premieres, however, "Redemption" came up short: The program was rated lower than any "24" premiere and down 34% compared to the show's 2007 debut.

The numbers suggest that while there hasn't been a resurgence of demand for "24" from viewers of yesteryear, the hardcore fans that stuck with the program through the critically derided previous season haven't lost faith. For those who missed the show, Fox will release the movie on DVD tomorrow ("Redemption" reviews, thoughts and video here).

Fox was in first place for the evening, with "24" boosted by some heavy scoring NFL overrun early in the evening.

ABC placed second with a very successful presentation of the 36th annual AMAs (12.2 million, 5.1). The awards show was up 6% this year to mark the highest-rated and most-viewed AMAs in four years and stood as Sunday's highest-rated non-sports telecast. The event follows ABC's recent presentation of the CMAs, which roughly held steady from last year. The ratings for the two events raise the possibility that the next round of awards shows might not continue the string of record lows seen in recent years.   

NBC was third, with "Sunday Night Football" (12.3 million, 4.7) covering the Indianapolis Colts at San Diego Chargers.

With the increased competition, CBS had to settle for the rare indignity of fourth place, with "60 Minutes" (14.5 million, 2.8), "The Amazing Race" (10.1 million, 2.7), "Cold Case" (12.1 million, 2.6) and "The Unit" (10 million, 2.5).

The final weekend of MRC programming on the CW was largely unchanged (600,000, 0.2).

SUNDAY, Nov. 23, 2008







4.3/10 American Music Awards
12.2 mil, 5.1/12
2.6/6 Amazing Race 13
10.1 mil, 2.7/6
Cold Case
12 mil, 2.6/6
The Unit
9.9 mil, 2.5/6
4.0/10 Football Night in America
11.5 mil, 4.2/10
Sunday Night Football
12.3 mil, 4.7/11
4.6/11 24: Redemption
12 mil, 4.0/10
No programming
0.2/1 Valentine
0.644 0.2/1
Easy Money
0.407 0.1/0
No programming