12.4 mil in audience for NBC's 'Talent' show

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NEW YORK -- "America's Got Talent" drove NBC to a win Wednesday on the strength of the second-best demo ratings ever for the sophomore summer variety show.

"Talent" was the top show for the night in major categories with 12.4 million viewers and a 4.4 rating/14 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary estimates released Wednesday by Nielsen Media Research.

That's the second-best adults 18-49 rating ever for the show behind its June 21, 2006, debut, when it averaged a 4.6/14. Tuesday's show was the third most watched ever. The two-hour "Talent" prevailed in each of the four half-hours, jumping from 9.4 million viewers and a 3.2/12 at 8 p.m. to 14.5 million viewers and a 5.2/15 at 9:30 p.m.

It crushed the competition that included Fox's "On the Lot" (2.4 million, 1.0/3) and ABC's "Fast Cars and Superstars" (3.1 million, 1.0/3) as well as repeats of CBS' "NCIS" (9.3 million, 2.0/7) and Fox's "House" (6.7 million, 2.5/7).

NBC kept up the momentum winning the 10 p.m. hour with a repeat "Law & Order: SVU" (9.4 million, 2.9/9) against ABC's "Boston Legal" (4.1 million, 1.3/4) and CBS' "48 Hours Mystery" (6.8 million, 1.9/6).

Tuesday averages: NBC (11.4 million, 3.9/12); CBS (7.3 million, 1.8/6); Fox (4.5 million, 1.7/6); ABC (3.6 million, 1.3/4); and the CW (1.3 million, 0.6/2).
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