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memorialpocalypse

Ronald Reagan Proves to Be More Popular Than Michael Jackson

Eighteen different television networks carried live coverage of Michael Jackson's memorial service on Tuesday afternoon, and now we know how many people tuned in to watch it. Despite the fact that the ceremony was held on a workday and aired during the daytime, some 31.1 million people managed to find a way to get in front of a television to watch the tribute. While this is undoubtedly a massive audience, the numbers failed to surpass the 32.2 million who tuned into watch Princess Diana's funeral in 1997 or the 35.1 million prime-time viewers who watched Ronald Reagan be put to rest in 2004. This isn't quite an apples-to-apples comparison, though, as a number of gainfully employed people understandably turned to the Internet to get their coverage. MSNBC.com reported that they served up nearly 19 million video streams of the service, and CNN says that they had 10.5 million live streams. Now, if only there were a way to track how many office drones deployed the old Alt-Tab keystroke to switch back to their Powerpoint presentations and/or Excel spreadsheets as their bosses sauntered by their desks ...

Nielsen: 31.1 million watched Jackson memorial [AP]

Photo: Getty Images