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Aug 30, 4:35 PM EDT

NBC sees winning streak snapped at 21 nights



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NEW YORK (AP) -- NBC, which is increasingly owning the summer months, reached an historic 21 nights in a row as the nation's most popular television network before having its winning streak snapped.

It was the longest string of consecutive victories among television viewers since the Nielsen company began keeping more precise records in 1987. The dominance of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro was the chief reason why, but NBC kept it going until last Friday when CBS won with an NFL exhibition game between Cleveland and Tampa Bay.

NBC has won among all viewers for the past nine weeks in a row, its longest period of dominance since 1997, Nielsen said.

Behind the success of "America's Got Talent" and "American Ninja Warrior," NBC has increasingly done well during the summer months on broadcast television, and the Olympics emphasize that trend. It's not nearly as important as winning the traditional television season from September to May, however, which CBS has dominated for several years.

The two editions of "America's Got Talent" were easily the most-watched programs on TV last week.

NBC's corporate sister, the news network MSNBC, learned Tuesday that it will beat rival CNN in prime-time weeknight ratings in August for the first time in two years. CNN notes that it will still win among the younger demographic that advertisers seek. Fox News Channel beats both networks in the ratings.

NBC averaged 5.7 million viewers last week in prime time. CBS had 4.6 million, ABC had 3.6 million, Fox had 2.5 million, Univision had 1.6 million, Telemundo had 1.4 million, ION Television had 1.3 million and the CW had 1 million.

Fox News was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.1 million viewers in prime time. HGTV had 1.67 million, USA had 1.57 million, TNT had 1.47 million and TBS had 1.34 million.

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.8 million viewers. ABC's "World News Tonight" was second with 7.7 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.4 million viewers.

For the week of Aug. 22-28, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 11.26 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 10.56 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 7.99 million; "NCIS," CBS, 7.4 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 7.35 million; "Better Late Than Never," NBC, 7.349 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday, 8 p.m.), NBC, 7.13 million; "American Ninja Warrior," NBC, 7.01 million; "Big Brother" (Sunday), CBS, 6.76 million; "Big Brother" (Wednesday), CBS, 6.47 million.

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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.

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