NEW YORK - Rosie O'Donnell's dream of bringing back the television variety show was dashed.
Her NBC special the night before Thanksgiving, "Rosie Live," attracted a meager audience of 5 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. Liza Minnelli, Alec Baldwin, Clay Aiken and Alanis Morissette were among the guests.
The show was widely considered a test-drive: if it intrigued audiences, an O'Donnell variety show could have become a series.
NBC now says there are no plans to make any more O'Donnell specials.
The show ranked No. 81 in Nielsen's weekly prime-time rankings, below Univision's Wednesday telenovela "Querida Enemiga."
O'Donnell's former colleague on "The View," Barbara Walters, did much better on Thanksgiving eve with her Barack and Michelle Obama interview. It was seen by 11.6 million people, the most in its time slot for a year and a half, Nielsen said.
The variety show was a personal project for O'Donnell, who wrote on her blog about watching, as a child with her mother, Minnelli perform on television six months before her mother died. Attempts to revive the variety format have largely failed, with shows like "American Idol" and "Dancing With the Stars" filling its role of programming that can be watched together with the family.
In fact, the season finale of "Dancing" dominated the week's ratings. The final dance-off was seen by 21.1 million people.
For the week, CBS led with an average of 11 million viewers in prime-time (6.8 rating, 12 share). ABC averaged 10.3 million (6.3, 11) and won the coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic for the third time in four weeks. NBC had 6.6 million viewers (4.0, 7), Fox 6.1 million (3.7, 6), My Network TV 1.9 million (1.1, 2), the CW 1.4 million (0.9, 1) and ION Television 730,000 (0.5, 1).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with a 3.8 million viewer average (1.8 rating, 3 share), Telemundo had 1.1 million (0.5, 1), TeleFutura 680,000 (0.3, 1) and Azteca 190,000 (0.1, 0).
NBC's "Nightly News" dominated the evening news ratings race with an average of 9.8 million viewers last week (6.3 rating, 12 share). ABC's "World News" was second with 8.6 million (5.7, 11) and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.7 million viewers (4.5, 8).
A ratings point represents 1,145,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.5 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For the week of Nov. 24-30, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 21.1 million; "Dancing With the Stars Results," ABC, 20.65 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 18.64 million; "NCIS," CBS, 18.12 million; "The Mentalist," CBS, 15.93 million; Sunday Night Football: Chicago at Minnesota, NBC, 15.92 million; "Desperate Housewives," ABC, 15.81 million; "Two and a Half Men," CBS, 14.95 million; "CSI: Miami," CBS, 14.33 million; "Criminal Minds," CBS, 14.11 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox and My Network TV are units of News Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by General Electric Co. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. TeleFutura is a division of Univision. Azteca America is a wholly owned subsidiary of TV Azteca S.A. de C.V.
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