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Emmy Ratings Up In 2009 On Neil Patrick Harris Hosting

09/21/09 07:21 PM ET   AP

Neil Patrick Harris

NEW YORK — Neil Patrick Harris did for the Emmy Awards what he did for the Tonys earlier this year: increase the award show's audience over the previous year.

The Emmys on Sunday rebounded from last year's all-time low viewership total, adding a million more people to a total of 13.3 million, according to The Nielsen Co. Harris, from the CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," drew raves for his work, with The Associated Press' Frazier Moore declaring the Emmy telecast "maybe the best ever."

Harris was also host of the Tony Awards, which saw its audience increase by 19 percent.

It was the most-watched Emmys telecast since 2006, when 16.1 million people tuned in. The Emmys increased its audience despite formidable competition from the NFL, where a Giants-Cowboys game had the best overnight ratings of any prime-time pro football game in 11 years, Nielsen said.

Most of the major award winners, such as "Mad Men" as best drama and "30 Rock" as best comedy, were repeats from 2008.

Analysts say the Emmys could have been helped by football in drawing a bigger audience than the year before: CBS prime-time shows in the fall frequently get a boost from viewers keeping the TV on after one of the network's football games runs late. CBS is also the nation's most popular network, and promotion for the Emmys likely got more exposure than it did the last two years on ABC and Fox.

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CBS is a division of CBS Corp.

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Filed by Danny Shea  |