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Jackson Tribute Boosts MTV Awards

VMAs score best Nielsen numbers in five years. Lifetime has a great night, too.

Nearly nine million viewers watched MTV’s Sunday telecast of the 2009 Video Music Awards, its best showing in five years.


The awards show, which this year included a Michael Jackson tribute and a smackdown between Kanye West and Taylor Swift, earned 8.97 million viewers, six percent ahead of last year’s average audience of 8.43 million, according to Nielsen.


MTV also noted that if you add in simulcasts of the VMAs on MTV2 and VH1, the kudocast was actually seen my over 11 million total viewers, the largest audience for the franchise since 2002.


Sunday was also a good night for Lifetime.


The network’s "Army Wives" averaged a 2.5 rating among women 18-49, its best performance of the season. Overall, it averaged 3.9 million total viewers.


And newcomer "Drop Dead Diva," with special guest Paula Abdul, notched its second-best ratings of the season. It earned a 1.8 rating with women 18-49.