PARIS (AFP) — US drama "House", starring Britain's Hugh Laurie as unconventional medical genius Doctor Gregory House, outgunned rivals in 2008 to become the world's most watched fiction show on television.
According to ratings agency Eurodata TV Worldwide, House and his team of canny diagnosticians last year gathered more than 81.8 million viewers.
That was far more than the 2007 and 2006 winners in the same TV drama category, "CSI: Las Vegas", about a team of forensic experts, and its spin-off "CSI: Miami".
The agency bases its figures on data collected in 66 countries from Austria to Georgia to Norway to the United States that represent a potential audience of 1.6 billion couch potatoes.
In the TV comedy category, the US female-star cast of "Desperate Housewives" for the second year running beat "Monk" (US) and "Ugly Betty" (US), attracting 65.3 million viewers worldwide in 2008.
"The Bold and the Beautiful", also a US show, with 24.5 million viewers was the most popular soap for the second consecutive year, thrashing Mexican telenovela "Marina" and US competitor "The Young And The Restless."
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