Emmy Awards Score With Viewers, But So Do Dramas

"Dexter," "Breaking Bad" and "Devious Maids" drew viewers away from the Emmys, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris (lower right) (Photos: Showtime, AMC, CBS, Lifetime)

By David Bauder

NEW YORK (AP) — Television viewers tuned in to see TV stars celebrating each other but didn’t ignore what else the medium had to offer.

The Nielsen ratings company said that on the night that “Breaking Bad” won an Emmy Award for best drama, the penultimate episode of the AMC series set a viewership record. An estimated 6.6 million people on Sunday watched “Breaking Bad,” which was airing when the cast got its award. The series finale is scheduled for next Sunday.

The 3.3 million people who watched the series finale of “Dexter” opposite the Emmys represented not only the series high for the serial killer drama but the biggest audience that Showtime has ever gotten for one of its original series.

Despite the competition, the Emmy Awards were seen by an average of 17.6 million viewers, an increase of more than 4 million over the show's audience last year. The CBS telecast was undoubtedly helped by airing directly after pro football in the East and the Midwest.

Also read: Tradition Dies As Emmys Face Stiff Competition

The “Devious Maids” season finale Sunday on Lifetime drew 3 million viewers, a series best, the channel said. The drama, from “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry, has been renewed for a second year.

Nielsen's lists of the top programs and network averages weren't immediately unavailable Tuesday due to what the company said were processing delays. It was unclear when they would be released.

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