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Posted at 06:36 PM ET, 04/10/2012

‘The Ten Commandments’ pulls off a ratings miracle for ABC


Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner star in the epic theatrical film, "The Ten Commandments.” (PARAMOUNT - PARAMOUNT)
“The Ten Commandments” pulled off another of its holiday ratings miracles over the weekend, delivering ABC’s best non-sports Saturday since — the last time ABC aired “The Ten Commandments” about a year ago.

It also pulled off ABC’s best non-sports Saturday among the younger viewers who are the currency of broadcast TV since the network aired the flick “Transformers” on Christmas Day of 2010.

ABC’s 32nd broadcast of “The Ten Commandments,” the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille biblical flick that stars Charlton Heston, scored 7 million viewers in primetime Saturday night.

To put this in perspective:

- It’s nearly twice the audience as generated by the second episode of the new season of “Game of Thrones” on HBO.

- It’s about 4 million more people than watched Sunday’s premiere of a new episode of “Mad Men.”

- It’s about the same number of people as watched the unveiling of Shonda Rhimes new Washington-set hot fixer chick drama “Scandal” on Thursday.

- It’s more than twice as many people as watched the most recent original episode of Television’s Most Ironically Named Comedy: “Community,” whose co-star Chevy Chase and creator Dan Harmon are, in their spare time, locked in heated competition to see who will be crowned Biggest Jerk Working in Primetime.

- It’s more people than watched any episode of “The O’Reilly Factor” all week (though we don’t think O’Reilly’s focused on that so much as he is on having, once again, beaten NBC’s Brian Williams newsmag “Rock Center” again last Wednesday.)

ABC has aired “T10C” 32 times; it has aired on the network every year since ABC gave it a year off to rest in 1999. After that one “T10C”-less year, more than 17 million people flocked to its return in 2000.

With its most recent broadcast, ABC outdrew its closest Saturday competitor by 3.3 million viewers, and by a whopping 78 percent among 18-to-49 year-olds who are the currency of the television industry.

“T10C” grew ABC’s audience in the timeslot over the same night last year by 3.5 million viewers and 60 percent in the coveted age bracket. On that same night last year, ABC had aired “War of the World,” starring Tom Cruise.

By  |  06:36 PM ET, 04/10/2012

 
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