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BET Awards Ratings Highest Ever On Jackson Tribute

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NEW YORK — The BET Awards turned into an impromptu Michael Jackson tribute and preliminary ratings show that it will have the event's biggest audience ever.

Nielsen Media Research says the ratings from its 56 biggest markets showed Sunday's BET Awards were up 61 percent over last year. An estimated 10 percent of turned-on television sets were tuned to the BET Awards _ an unusually large number for a cable channel.

Nielsen says the show got a 5.8 rating in the overnight ratings. The awards ceremony has been held since 2001 and has never gotten more than a 3.7 rating.

Several celebrities, including host Jamie Foxx, paid tribute to Jackson.

The evening was capped by the emotional appearance of Jackson's sister Janet.