Grammys sing sweetly Sun. for CBS

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NEW YORK -- The Grammy Awards regained some of its lost luster in a return to Sunday night, a year after the professional music awards were thrashed by the amateurs over at "American Idol."

The 3 1/2-hour CBS telecast averaged 20.1 million viewers and an 8.3 rating/20 share in adults 18-49, according to preliminary estimates released Monday by Nielsen Media Research. It was the best ratings showing since 2004 in both viewership and adults 18-49.

The Grammy telecast was up 18% from last year's all-time low of 17 million viewers, when it aired on a Wednesday against "American Idol" and "Idol" brought upward of 29 million viewers against it. It also was up 17% in the adults 18-49 demo from last year's 7.1/18, and up similar percentages in both adults 18-34 and adults 25-54. Compared with 2005, the last time the Grammys aired on a Sunday night, last night's telecast was up 7% in viewers (18.8 million) and up 2% in adults 18-49 (8.1/19).

The telecast peaked at 9 p.m. with 21.8 million viewers. Sunday night's ratings were still down significantly compared with the 26.3 million viewers who watched the Grammys in 2004.

But the telecast was easily the biggest thing on television Sunday night, surpassing ABC's "Desperate Housewives" (18.1 million, 7.1/15). "Housewives" was down 14% compared with its season average of 8.3/18, though it was up from its last original episode. Freshman drama "Brothers & Sisters" (11.3 million, 4.5/11) was down 10% from its season average of 5.0/12.

Taking a bigger hit from the Grammys was NBC's two-hour, live "Grease: You're The One That I Want" (6.5 million, 2.0/5), which was down 35% from its season average of a 3.1/7. "The Apprentice" (6.4 million, 2.4/5) fell to its lowest original adults 18-49 rating in its history. "Crossing Jordan" (8.3 million, 2.5/6) also was an original.

At 7 p.m., "60 Minutes" (14.2 million, 2.9/8) was the hour's top show in viewership, while the first of a two-part "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (10.9 million, 3.9/11) won in the demo. But "Extreme Makeover" jumped to 16.9 million viewers and a 6.2/14 in the demo in its second hour at 8 p.m.

Fox had originals of "The Simpsons" (8.3 million, 3.8/9) and "King of the Hill" (7 million, 3.2/7) along with "Family Guy" (7.9 million, 3.9/8) and "American Dad" (6.6 million, 3.2/7).

Nightly averages: CBS (19 million, 7.1/17); ABC (14.3 million, 5.4/13); NBC (6.8 million, 2.2/5); Fox (6.5 million, 3.0/7); and the CW (2.4 million, 0.9/2).
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