'Sharknado' rocks Nielsen ratings

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'Sharknado' rocks Nielsen ratings
This photo released by Syfy shows Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard in a scene from the TV series, "Sharknado 2: The Second One." (AP Photo/Syfy)
In this image released by Syfy, sharks attack a man in a scene from the Syfy original film "Sharknado." The network is announcing a sequel to "Sharknado," which became an instant campy classic with its recent airing. The new film premieres in 2014. (AP Photo/Syfy)
SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE -- Pictured: sharks, Empire State Building -- (Photo by: Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE -- Pictured: Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard -- (Photo by: Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
In this image released by Syfy, Ian Ziering, second left, and Cassie Scerbo battle a shark in the Syfy original film "Sharknado." The network is announcing a sequel to "Sharknado," which became an instant campy classic with its recent airing. The new film premieres in 2014. (AP Photo/Syfy)
MANHATTAN, NY - FEBRUARY 21, 2013: Mark McGrath seen on the set of Sharknado 2 on February 21, 2013 in New York. Photo Credit: RTNWandu / MediaPunch
Atmosphere at the "Sharknado" panel on Day 1 of Comic-Con International on Thursday, July 24, 2014, in San Diego.(Photo by Tonya Wise/Invision/AP)
Judah Friedlander attends the "Sharknado" panel on Day 1 of Comic-Con International on Thursday, July 24, 2014, in San Diego.(Photo by Tonya Wise/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 24: Actor Ian Ziering is seen on the set of 'Sharknado 2' on February 24, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Patricia Schlein/Star Max/GC Images)
Anthony C. Ferrante attends the "Sharknado" panel on Day 1 of Comic-Con International on Thursday, July 24, 2014, in San Diego.(Photo by Tonya Wise/Invision/AP)
From left, Ian Ziering, Anthony C. Ferrante and Vivica A. Fox attend the "Sharknado" panel on Day 1 of Comic-Con International on Thursday, July 24, 2014, in San Diego.(Photo by Tonya Wise/Invision/AP)
Kari Wuhrer from the cast of "Sharknado 2: The Second One" arrives at the NBC Universal Summer Press Day on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Kari Wuhrer from the cast of "Sharknado 2: The Second One" arrives at the NBC Universal Summer Press Day on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: Ian Ziering and Vivica A. Fox seen on the set of 'Sharknado 2' on February 19, 2014 in New York City. Credit: Corredor99/MediaPunch
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: Ian Ziering seen on the set of 'Sharknado 2' on February 19, 2014 in New York City. Credit: Corredor99/MediaPunch
This undated publicity image released by Discovery Channel shows a great white shark near Guadalupe Island off the coast of Mexico. hark Week begins Sunday, Aug. 4 at 9 p.m. EST on Discovery. (AP Photo/Discovery Channel, Andrew Brandy Casagrande)
Brian Tarango promotes Sharknado 2 at the 2013 Comic-Con International Convention on Wednesday, July 18, 2013 in San Diego, Calif. (Photo by Jack Dempsey/Invision/AP)
NBCUNIVERSAL EVENTS -- NBCUniversal Press Tour, July 2014 -- 'Sharknado 2' Screening Party -- Sharknado 2 Screening Party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE -- Pictured: Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard -- (Photo by: Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NBCUNIVERSAL EVENTS -- NBCUniversal Summer Press Day, April 2014 -- Cocktail Reception -- Pictured: (l-r) Kari Wuhrer, Judah Friedlander, 'Sharknado 2' -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
BURBANK, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Cast and crew of Sharknado Robbie Rist, Jaason Simmons, Tara Reid, Cassie Scerbo, Anthony C. Ferrante, Ian Ziering, John Heard, Emile Edwin Smith, William Boodell, Thunder Levin, Joe Cornell and Josh Foster participate in the 'Sharknado' DVD Signing held at Dark Delicacies Bookstore on September 8, 2013 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
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By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - With "Sharknado" and a tight battle between NBC and CBS, the week's Nielsen ratings illustrated how that traditional measurement is becoming less of a clear picture of how people are consuming television.

Last week's debut of the campy "Sharknado 2: The Second One" sequel averaged 3.87 million viewers on the SyFy network, the Nielsen company said. That was good, although not great: Seven other programs on cable television alone had larger audiences last week.

But SyFy didn't air the movie just once. "Sharknado 2: The Second One" was on four times last week, seen by a total of 9.5 million people. The movie also inspired some 581,000 tweets last week, more than any other program on television, Nielsen said.

'Sharknado' rocks Nielsen ratings
If Tara Reid doesn't end this movie with a chainsaw for a hand, I don't even know why we got out of bed today. #Sharknado2
Sharknado 2 is about as amazing as you'd expect. 🌀🐟🌀🐟🌀🐟
Can't believe we are watching sharknado 2.
Sharknado 2 is Oscar worthy!
Thank you @SharknadoSyfy the Academy just texted me. Just got a Best Supporting Actor nomination for 2015. #Sharknado2TheSecondOne
Shame on you if you're not watching Sharknado 2
Sharknado 2 is way too entertaining
Sharknado is life
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There were shark-infested skies on SyFy all week, since the network aired last year's original movie four times, too.

Meanwhile, Nielsen said NBC narrowly beat CBS to be the most-watched network last week. The three most popular programs on the air last week were all on NBC - two editions of "America's Got Talent" and Sunday's exhibition football game between the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills.

Wait a few days, however, and CBS is likely to claim the week's crown. That's because Nielsen's weekly rankings are based on who watches the programs live or within the next 24 hours, and reality shows and sports programming are most likely to be watched live.

Dramas, which dominate CBS' schedule, are more likely to be time-shifted. For example, the July 14 episode of CBS' "Under the Dome" was seen by 7.6 million people within the first 24 hours, and just under 12 million within seven days - a 57 percent increase due to people watching on their DVRs or on demand. That week's one episode of "America's Got Talent" saw only a 17 percent bump when the full week's viewership was taken into account.

Fox saw an historic low in the ratings last week. Its prime-time average of 2.3 million viewers was lower than any other week's average achieved by any of the four biggest broadcast networks in Nielsen's records, with the exception of a couple of weeks in 2012 when NBC aired the London Olympics. Fox aired few original programs last week except for "Master Chef" and "Hotel Hell."

NBC averaged 5.4 million viewers for the week in prime time. CBS had 5.3 million, ABC had 4.5 million, Univision had 3.2 million, Telemundo had 1.3 million and ION Television had 1.2 million.

Three networks were bunched at the top of the week's cable ratings. TNT averaged 2.099 million viewers in prime time, the Disney Channel had 2.097 million and USA had 2.093 million. Fox News Channel had 1.83 million and History 1.81 million.

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.9 million viewers. ABC's "World News" was second with 7.3 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.8 million viewers.

For the week of July 28-Aug. 3, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday, 9 p.m.), NBC, 10.79 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 10.64 million; NFL Exhibition Game: N.Y. Giants vs. Buffalo, NBC, 8.53 million; "NCIS," CBS, 8.44 million; "The Bachelorette: After the Rose," ABC, 8.16 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 8.05 million; "The Bachelorette," ABC, 8 million; "NFL Pre-Game Show," NBC, 7.56 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 7.2 million; "Big Brother" (Sunday), CBS, 6.58 million.

Why 'Sharknado 2' Is Future of TV Watching

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