Black Entertainment Television's salute to Michael Jackson as part of its June 28 BET Awards show drew a network record 10.6 million viewers.
The three hour and 30-minute show, which included performances from New Edition, Ne-Yo and host Jamie Fox dedicated to the King Of Pop, who died last Thursday easily topped the network's previous high of 6.6 million for the 2006 BET Awards telecast, according to Nielsen Media Research figures. The show also drew an BET-record 5 million viewers within the 18-to-49 demo.The show now stands as the most viewed cable show of the year among ad-supported networks.
Jackson's sister Janet Jackson also appeared at the end of the show to thank the industry and fans for their support.
"The number of viewers who tuned in to see the BET Awards ‘09 is a testament to Michael Jackson's far-reaching and long-lasting influence and legacy," said Debra L. Lee, Chairman and CEO, BET Networks in a statement. "We're thankful to everyone who played a role in the show, both on stage and behind the camera, and it meant so much to all of us to be there for our audience at this emotional time. Above all, we extend our love and prayers to the Jackson family and are honored that Joe and Janet Jackson were in attendance."
In addition, the 106 & Park pre-show averaged 3.1 million total viewers, and the BET Awards '09 After-Party Fashioned By My Black Is Beautiful garnered 5.2 million total viewers. Also, a sneak peek look at BET's new docu-reality series Tiny & Toya drew an additional 3.8 million total viewers.
All three shows set BET records, becoming the #1 pre-show, post-show and original series telecasts in BET history, respectively, according to the network.