Thursday August 30, 2012

NEW YORK -- The NFL season hasn't started yet, but with little else happening on broadcast television, exhibition football games are making a dent in the ratings.

Three games were ranked in Nielsen's top 30 prime-time programs last week. Sunday night's contest between the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets on NBC was second only to a showing of "America's Got Talent" as the week's most-watched program.

CBS relied on Friday and Saturday night games, along with the 14th edition of "Big Brother" and popular reruns, to win the week.

With 5.2 million viewers, NBC did relatively well with Brian Williams' "Rock Center" special edition on Mormonism. Only football and "America's Got Talent" did better for the network last week, the Nielsen Co. said.

For the week, CBS averaged 5.8 million viewers in prime time. NBC had 5.1 million, ABC had 4.1 million (2.7, 5), Fox had 3.8 million.

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.8 million viewers. ABC's "World News" was second with 7.1 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.5 million viewers.

Nielsen's top programs for Aug. 20-26:

1. "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday) (NBC), 9.9 million.

2. NFL Exhibition Football: Carolina vs. N.Y. Jets (NBC), 9.8.

3. "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday) (NBC), 8.6.

4. "60 Minutes" (CBS), 8.5.

5. "NCIS" (CBS), 8.0.

6. "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS), 7.4.

7. "Big Brother 14" (Sunday) (CBS), 7.3.

8. "NCIS: Los Angeles" (CBS), 7.1.

9. "The Mentalist" (Tuesday) (CBS), 6.29.

10. "Big Brother 14" (Thursday) (CBS), 6.28.

11. "Hell's Kitchen" (Monday) (Fox), 6.23.

12. "Master Chef" (Tuesday) (Fox), 5.99.

13. "Two and a Half Men" (Thursday) (CBS), 5.95.

14. "20/20" (ABC), 5.93.

15. Auto Racing: NASCAR at Bristol (ABC), 5.91.

16. "Big Brother 14" (Wednesday) (CBS), 5.8.

17. "Criminal Minds" (CBS), 5.7.

18. "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS), 5.6.

19. "The Mentalist" (Sunday) (CBS), 5.5.

20. "2 Broke Girls" (CBS), 5.4.

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LOS ANGELES (LAT) -- ABC has acquired the television rights to Spike Lee's upcoming Michael Jackson documentary, the network has announced.

The acclaimed filmmaker, who had previously collaborated with Jackson, has been prepping "Bad25," a documentary tracing the late king of pop's creative vision during the making of "Bad," the follow-up to his groundbreaking "Thriller." It is one of two major projects pegged to the 25th anniversary of the 1987 hit-filled album.

"This will be a very special Thanksgiving for all families to enjoy the genius of Michael Jackson," Lee said in a statement. "Big thanks to ABC for allowing people to witness the making of Michael Jackson's ‘Bad' album."

Lee teamed with Jackson's estate and Legacy/Epic Records to search their archives for never-before-seen footage, including some shot by Jackson himself. The director also conducted interviews with some of Jackson's confidants, choreographers, musicians and collaborators.

Before Lee's documentary "Bad 25" airs on Thanksgiving, the film will premiere next month at the Toronto International Film Festival.

"Bad," the third and final album collaboration between Jackson and Quincy Jones, made history with five consecutive No. 1 singles.