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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘Dancing with the Stars’ debuts strongly on ABC

David Bauder Associated Press

Who would have thought TV viewers would have been intrigued by the idea of Evander Holyfield learning to dance or A Flock of Seagulls and Loverboy singing anything?

ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” had a surprisingly strong debut last week as a reality-filled summer television season began.

The show was seen by 13.5 million viewers, second only to a “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” rerun as the most-watched prime-time program of the week, according to Nielsen Media Research.

NBC’s “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” which took has-been music stars and gave them another chance at the spotlight, ranked No. 17. But it was the week’s most popular show among 18- to 49-year-olds, giving slumping NBC its first victory since January in the demographic it once dominated.

Elsewhere, beautiful women trumped Broadway stars: The Miss Universe pageant on NBC was seen by 9.2 million people, while 6.5 million watched the Tony Awards on CBS.

CBS averaged 8.4 million viewers in prime time to win the week’s ratings race (5.8 rating, 10 share). NBC averaged 7.1 million (4.9, 9), ABC 6.5 million (4.4, 8), Fox 5.2 million (3.4, 6), UPN 2.5 million (1.7, 3) and the WB 2.3 million (1.6, 3).

A ratings point represents 1,096,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 109.6 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

The top 10 shows for the week ending Sunday: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 14.2 million viewers; “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, 13.5 million; “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 13.1 million; “Without a Trace,” CBS, 12.6 million; “Two and a Half Men,” CBS, 12.1 million; “Everybody Loves Raymond,” CBS, 11.2 million; “48 Hours Mystery” (Tuesday), CBS, 10.7 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 10.4 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 10.3 million; “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” NBC, 10.1 million.

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