January 01, 2012 4:24pm PT by Michael O'Connell
New Year's Eve Ratings: Dick Clark's 40th Anniversary Gives ABC 11-Year High
The ABC broadcast of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest grew by all counts on the last night of 2011.
The duo, joined by Jenny McCarthy and Fergie, gave the network its largest audience in 11 years and its strongest showing among adults 18-49 in 8 years, according to Nielsen fast national ratings.
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Between 11:35 p.m. and 12:32 a.m., ABC's coverage of the ball drop in Times Square averaged 22.6 million viewers and a 7.4 rating among adults 18-49. It marks a 3.8 million gain among total viewers and a 19 percent improvement in the key demo. An encore at 1:00 a.m. also posted double digit growth in both categories.
During primetime, the super-sized 5.5 hour show gave the network an average 9.8 million viewers and a 3.0 among adults 18-49, topping the other three nets combined. Rockin' Eve's only network competitor, NBC's New Year's Eve With Carson Daily, earned a 0.9 among adults 18-49 and 3 million viewers between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. (NBC's late night numbers weren't immediately available.)
New Year's Rockin' Eve is only eclipsed by the Academy Awards on ABC's specials calendar.