NHL all-star television rating plunges 76 per cent in U.S. from 2004

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The estimated audience on CBC was 1.238 million, up about six per cent from 2004. On Tuesday, 1.038 million viewers tuned in to CBC to watch the skills competition, according to The Globe & Mail, down 13 per cent from 2004 when the skills competition aired in prime time on a Saturday.

Wednesday night's game in Dallas drew a 0.7 Nielsen rating in the U.S. on Versus, the cable channel formerly known as OLN. The game was viewed in an estimated 474,298 households and by 672,948 viewers, down from the 1,985,000 households that saw the 2004 all-star game on a Sunday afternoon on ABC.

Wednesday's most-watched show, American Idol on Fox, drew an estimated 37 million viewers in the 9 p.m. hour.

The NHL ratings drop-off was even greater when compared to the 2000 game in Toronto, which was watched in approximately 2,681,000 households on a Sunday afternoon - or more than five times as many homes as were tuned in Wednesday.

While Wednesday's game was the most-watched cable show that night in Buffalo and Pittsburgh, it did not place among the top 20 cable shows in NHL markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington and Miami. The 7.1 rating in Buffalo was by far the largest in any U.S. market.

In host city Dallas, the game was only the 18th most-watched cable program with a 0.5 rating. The national rating is the percentage of U.S. television households tuned to a program, and each point represents about 1.1 million homes.

The all-star game wasn't held in 2005 because of the season-long labour dispute or in 2006 because of the Olympics.

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