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America's TV addiction: By the numbers
We watched more television in 2010 than ever before — but viewers' tastes continued to evolve in some unexpected ways
 
Americans watched an average of 34 hours of television per week last year.
Americans watched an average of 34 hours of television per week last year.
Corbis

The internet, and the increasing number of ways to access it, from smartphones to iPads, may be broadening our entertainment options, but "television remains a refuge in the media revolution," says Brian Stelter in The New York Times. According to the Nielsen Company, Americans watched a record-breaking amount of television in 2010. Still, there were key shifts in audience focus; while many cable channels continued to increase their numbers, cable news viewership dropped. Here, a brief guide, by the numbers, to the habit Americans don't want to kick:

34
Average number of hours, per week, Americans spent watching television in 2010, more than ever before, according to the Nielsen Company

1 percent
Increase over last year

34 percent
Average total audience gain of The History Channel, the largest of any channel. It's "riding high on unhistorical series such as 'Pawn Stars' and 'American Pickers'," says Gary Levin in USA Today.

16 percent
Total gain for E!, thanks partly to "Keeping Up With the Kardashians"

8.8 million
Number of viewers the most popular cable series, TNT's "Rizzoli & Isles," averaged in its 10-week run

6
Number of cable series — including "Rizzoli & Isles," MTV's "Jersey Shore," and AMC's "The Walking Dead" — that averaged more than 6 million viewers per episode. "These are eye-popping numbers you didn't see a few years ago," says Turner's senior VP of research, Jon Marks. Indeed, "increasingly the strongest [cable series] are beating many of their big-network rivals," says Levin.

4 million
Number of viewers in the coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic that watched the Monday finale of "Soy Tu Dueña" (or "I'm Your Owner"), one of the telenovelas on Univision, the increasingly popular Spanish-language broadcast network, "beating all the English-language networks for the night"

51
Number of weeks, out of 52, that CBS was the number one English-language network, thanks in part to the success of three of its new shows, "Hawaii Five-0," "Blue Bloods," and "Mike & Molly," all of which cracked the top 20 and were the only debuting shows to do so

1968
The year the original "Hawaii Five-0" first aired

34 percent
The decline in CNN's average number of prime time viewers from 2009 to 2010. That marks the biggest loss in viewers for any cable channel. VH1 and the Hallmark Channel also lost more than a quarter of their audience. "Cable for many years just enjoyed this automatic growth, this rising tide," says Todd Gordon, an ad buyer at the Initiative firm. "Now it's a dogfight," with viewers being spread across a wider range of channels.

7 percent
The decline in Fox News's audience

Twice as many
Number of viewers watching the smallest of the big 4 networks, NBC, compared to those viewing the largest of the basic cables channels, USA. "The generation-long shift to cable from broadcast continued, but subtly," says Brian Stelter in The New York Times.

Sources: New York Times, IMDB, USA Today, TV Latest

 

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