Taylor Swift boosts ratings for country awards

Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:07pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Taylor Swift's clean sweep of the Country Music Assn. Awards helped the broadcast reach its biggest audience in four years, according to preliminary figures released on Thursday.

The three-hour show averaged 16.8 million viewers for ABC on Wednesday, up from 15.9 million last year. It marks the highest score since 2005, when 17.7 million people tuned in to the CBS broadcast.

Still, viewership was off by more than half from the record of 36 million set in 1978, when Dolly Parton was named entertainer of the year.

Swift, 19, won that same prize this year, becoming the youngest person to win the show's top honor. She also walked away with a trio of statuettes for female vocalist, album and video.

The CMA ceremony outdrew the rival Academy of Country Music Awards, which pulled in 14.8 million viewers in April. But the Grammys, the music industry's top event, attracted 19.1 million viewers in February.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

<p>Singer Taylor Swift performs "Fifteen" at the 43rd annual Country Music Association Awards in Nashville November 11, 2009. REUTERS/Tami Chappell</p>