Daytona 500 crash drew big ratings |

TV | Inside TV

Daytona 500 crash drew big ratings, 'Smash' rises

Juan Pablo Montoya

(AP Images)

Fox’s live coverage of the Daytona 500 delivered some healthy ratings for the network, while NBC’s Smash showed some fighting spirit after recent declines.

About 14.1 million viewers* tuned in for the event during primetime, which averaged a hearty 4.6 rating in the adult demo. The “Super Bowl of NASCAR” made national headlines when driver Juan Pablo Montoya crashed into a jet dryer. The resulting fireball shut down the track temporarily (Montoya was unharmed). Being rain-delayed for hours also contributed to the drama, but doubtless helped propel viewers to screen once racers got the green flag in primetime.

NBC was a strong second, but The Voice (14.8 million viewers, 5.4 adults 18-49 rating) dipped 10 percent. This is interesting: Smash (6.7 million, 2.4) rose 4 percent despite its Voice lead in declining and facing original episodes of Castle (9.1 million, 2.2) and Hawaii Five-0 (9.4 million, 2.5). It’s too early to say what that might mean, but it’s a hopeful sign.

Between NASCAR and The Voice, CBS was under pressure, it’s comedy lineup dropping: HIMYM (9.1 million, 3.6) was only down slightly, but 2 Broke Girls (10.1 million, 3.7), Two and a Half Men (11.8 million, 3.6) and Mike & Molly (10.1 million, 2.9) hit season lows. In fact, Two and a Half Men fell 14 percent to hit a series low, which for a comedy that’s been airing for nine years – and hired a new star this season – is possibly significant.

ABC’s The Bachelor (8 million, 2.6) fans were undeterred, the show up a bit.

* Corrected from earlier version that used Fox Sports’ 36.5 million viewership claim, which only included viewers who only watched a mere few minutes of the event.

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