Terry Morrow: February numbers sweep up Grammys, Oscars and racing

What we were watching during February sweeps:

Awards. The Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 26, was easily the night's biggest draw. The movie awards ceremony garnered an 18.0, making it the third most-popular prime-time event of the year so far.

The return of Billy Crystal as host helped bring eyeballs. Since "The Artist," a black-and-white silent film that hasn't exactly burned up the box office, was the top nominee, it's doubtful the majority of the audience watched to see if it would win.

Also, few knew that two East Tennessee talents — Rich Middlemas, a University of Tennessee graduate, and Gore Verbinski, who grew up in Oak Ridge — won statues that night for their work behind the camera. Both are directors.

The awards aired live on WATE, Channel 6.

The Grammy Awards, which aired on WVLT, Channel 8, fared better.

The music awards ceremony, which featured Greeneville, Tenn.,-based nominees The Band Perry, won a 20.0 rating around here. Kenny Chesney and UT graduate Deana Carter were also major nominees as was Sugarland, which is the duo Knoxville native Kristin Bush is in.

Sports. It was no Academy Awards, but the Daytona 500 was a big prime-time winner for WTNZ, Channel 43, on Monday, Feb. 27.

The race managed a 13.2 rating locally, making it the most-watched prime-time event in the Knoxville market that night.

It didn't hurt matters the race had a huge, fiery explosion, which happened after Juan Pablo Montoya slammed into a jet dryer.

Montoya was unharmed. He was driving well behind the rest of the field when he started sliding out of control and toward a truck holding 200 gallons of jet kerosene.

The Super Bowl, which aired the first Sunday in February, is the year's biggest event so far (and probably will remain that way). The game grabbed a 46.9 rating, meaning almost half of the Knoxville market watched the game.

The University of Arkansas vs. UT basketball game on Feb. 15 won the night by pulling in a 9.8 rating locally. The game bested "American Idol" (also a 9.1) and "Survivor: One World" (6.7).

Crime

"NCIS" and "NCIS: Los Angeles" are a deadly combination on Tuesday nights. The two are consistently the most popular prime-time series in the Knoxville market.

On Feb. 28, "NCIS" claimed a 14.5 and "NCIS: Los Angeles" had a 12.5. The two air on WVLT, Channel 8.

Reality TV

In the so-called reality realm, "The Voice" is finally giving NBC a substantial hit each week. Even against the Daytona 500, "The Voice" belted out an 11.5 rating in Knoxville, good enough for a second-place finish for the highly competitive night of Feb. 27.

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

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