ITV1 tops BBC in Top 10 showdown

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LONDON -- In a field dominated by homegrown British fare, ITV1 beat out the BBC for six of the top 10 highest-rating programs in 2006, according to figures from TV ratings agency BARB released Thursday by Broadcast magazine.

ITV1 also was responsible for nine out of the top 10 dramas during the year, with only BBC1's "Doctor Who" cracking the drama list at No. 6 (No. 18 in the overall chart) with 9.3 million viewers.

Despite the high profile of such one-hour dramas as "Desperate Housewives," "Lost" and "CSI," the shows, which mainly debut on digital channels, failed to break into the 100 top-rated shows.

Just four U.S. imports, three of them movies, made the top 100. "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," with an audience of 10.2 million viewers, was the No. 11 most-watched show of the year while "Bruce Almighty," with 7.5 million viewers, was No. 49. Animated feature "Ice Age" was No. 62 with 7.1 million viewers and an episode of comedy "My Name is Earl" on Channel 4 was 90th on the list.

England World Cup soccer matches occupied the top two slots followed by "Coronation Street" on ITV and "The Vicar of Dibley" on BBC1. ITV scored 26 of the top 50 programs, while BBC1 attracted 23 and Channel 4 just one.

In a separately compiled list of top multichannel programs, Sky One's "Hogfather" and BBC3 "Doctor Who" spinoff, "Torchwood," were the two top shows, averaging 2.6 million viewers each.

"The Simpsons," on Sky One, attracted 2.3 million viewers and was the fourth most-watched program on a digital channel, while an episode of "Lost" finished at No. 10 with 1.6 million viewers.


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