On a summer night unusually loaded with original reality shows, NBC reigned with a ventriloquist/impersonator.
On the strength of a 4.1 rating /12 share in the 18-49 demo for the two-hour finale of NBC's America's Got Talent and a 3.3/9 for Singing Bee, the network took the night handily with a 3.9/11 in the demo, winning every half hour of primetime.
America's Got Talent, in which a guy and his puppet beat a guy and his guitar, built every half-hour, from a 3.4 rating at the start to a 4.7 for the last half-hour, capped by a repeat of winner Terry Fator's million-dollar rendition -- via a turtle puppet -- of Roy Orbison's "Crying."
NBC said its 4.1/12 average for the show was 17% better than last year's finale.
ABC and CBS were tied for second with a 2.2/6. ABC got consistent production across the board from Just for Laughs (2.3/7), its Candid Camera homage from 8 p.m.-9 p.m.; Internet clip show I-Caught (2/5) from 9 p.m.-10 p.m. and its top show, Primetime: Crimetime (2.4/7) at 10 p.m.
CBS got most of its power from Big Brother, which averaged a 3.1/6 from 9 p.m.-10 p.m.
Fox was fourth with a 1.6/5, led by a House repeat (2/5) but with no help from On the Lot (1.2/4), the filmmaking reality show that never got a lot of viewers.
The CW was fifth with a 0.5/1 for repeats of Gilmore Girls and Beauty & the Geek.