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Photos: Jackson's funeral

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  1. Michael Jackson's 11-year-old daughter, Paris Michael Katherine, cries as she attempts to speak and is consoled by Jackson's siblings at Staples Center on Tuesday, July 7, in Los Angeles. “I just want to say ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you can ever imagine. And I just wanted to say I love him so much," she said. (Pool / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Family, friends and celebrities sing "We Are the World" at the end of the pop star's public memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 7. (NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Michael Jackson's children, Paris Michael Katherine, Prince Michael II (aka Blanket) and Michael Joseph Jr. (aka Prince Michael) appear onstage at the pop star's public memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 7. (Pool / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Jermaine Jackson throws a rose on brother Michael Jackson's casket after performing "Smile," which was the pop star's favorite song, during the public memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 7. (Mark J. Terrill / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Usher sings Jackson's "Gone Too Soon" at the late star's public memorial service. The song is off the "Dangerous" album and was originally dedicated to Ryan White, who died of AIDS in 1990 at age 18. (Mario Anzuoni / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Brooke Shields, who was a childhood friend of the pop star, speaks about her long friendship with Michael Jackson. The actress, who fought back tears during her speech, tells the crowd about what some considered their "odd" relationship and the fun they had together as children. (Paul Buck / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Jennifer Hudson, who is expecting her first child, sings "Will You Be There?" at the public memorial service for the late singer. (Mario Anzuoni / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. The Rev. Al Sharpton, a longtime friend of the Jackson family, speaks about how the "King of Pop" broke down barriers and "opened up the whole world." (Mark J. Terrill / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. From left to right, Rebbie Jackson, Janet Jackson, Randy Jackson, Tito Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Jackie Jackson and Jermaine Jackson attend brother Michael Jackson's public memorial service at Staples Center on Tuesday in Los Angeles. (Courtesy of Harrison Funk and Kevin Mazur / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Former NBA star Magic Johnson pauses as he eulogizes Michael Jackson during the singer's public memorial service. Johnson spoke of his relationship with the Jackson family and also shared a humorous tale of the singer's taste for Kentucky Fried Chicken. (Mario Anzuoni / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. John Mayer performs "Human Nature," one of the many hits off the 1982 hit album "Thriller," at Jackson's public memorial service held at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 7. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Katherine Jackson, right, sits with Michael Jackson's children during the pop star's public memorial service held at Staples Center on Tuesday, July 7, in Los Angeles. (Mario Anzuoni / Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Stevie Wonder performs at Michael Jackson's public memorial service. The singer started with his 1971 song "Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer," then switched to "They Won't Go When I Go." (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Janet Jackson, center, attends brother Michael's public memorial service at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 7. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Mariah Carey, left, and Trey Lorenz perform at Michael Jackson's public memorial service. The pair sang the Jackson 5 hit "I'll Be There." (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Fans attending the public memorial for Michael Jackson cry at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 7. (Gabriel Bouys / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Lionel Richie performs the Commodores' song "Jesus Is Love" during the public memorial service for Michael Jackson. (Mark J. Terrill / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Michael Jackson's parents, Joe Jackson, back center, and Katherine, front left, arrive with his son Michael Joseph Jr., right, at the star's public memorial service held at Staples Center on Tuesday, July 7. (Mario Anzuoni / Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Queen Latifah speaks at the memorial service for music legend Michael Jackson. The actress also read a poem from Maya Angelou entitled "We Had Him." (Gabriel Bouys / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. A fan holds up a license plate before Michael Jackson's public memorial service on Tuesday. (Mark J. Terrill / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Michael Jackson's public memorial service at the Los Angeles' Staples Center on Tuesday, July 7, begins with singer Smokey Robinson reading comments from Nelson Mandela, Diana Ross and other friends. (Courtesy of Harrison Funk and Kevin Mazur / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Corey Feldman arrives at Michael Jackson's public memorial service at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 7. The actor became friends with the pop singer in the 1980s. (Mark J. Terrill / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. The Jackson brothers accompany Michael Jackson's casket into his public memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 7. (Mark J. Terrill / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Fans enter the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the public memorial service for Michael Jackson on Tuesday, July 7. More than 1.6 million people registered for the lottery for free tickets to the event, and 8,750 were chosen to receive two tickets each. (Patrick T. Fallon / Zuma Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Members of the media work in front of the Staples Center in Los Angeles during the public memorial service for the late pop star Michael Jackson on Tuesday, July 7. (Chris Carlson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Fans gather outside Staples Center before a public memorial service for Michael Jackson on Tuesday, July 7, in Los Angeles. (Jae C. Hong / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. The hearse carrying the coffin of Michael Jackson arrives at the star's public memorial service held at Staples Center on Tuesday in Los Angeles. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Leslie Young, 43, left, and Mari Quates, 50, wave and yell from the 5th Street overpass as the Michael Jackson funeral procession drives down an empty 110 freeway in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 7. The women came from their local offices to get a glimpse of the family as the cars head toward Staples Center for the public memorial service. (Stephanie Mullen / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. The casket is carried out after a private funeral ceremony for pop star Michael Jackson at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 7. Jackson's body -- reportedly resting in a $25,000 gold-plated casket -- was later transported to a lavish public memorial at the 20,000-capacity Staples Center. (Vincent Laforet / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. A motorcade arrives at Forest Lawn Memorial Park for Michael Jackson's funeral services in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 7. (Phil McCarten / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. A motorcade arrives at Forest Lawn Memorial Park on Tuesday, July 7, in Los Angeles. Jackson, 50, the iconic pop star, died at UCLA Medical Center after going into cardiac arrest at his rented home on June 25 in Los Angeles. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Members of the media wait at Forest Lawn Memorial Park before services for Michael Jackson in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Jackson fans began crowding into downtown Los Angeles for a star-packed public memorial to the "King of Pop," whose sudden death nearly two weeks ago shocked the world. (Phil McCarten / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. A Los Angeles police officer directs the funeral procession outside the Jackson family home in Encino, Calif., on Tuesday, July 7, enroute to Forest Lawn Memorial Park. (Paul J. Richards / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 7/13/2009 5:40:28 PM ET 2009-07-13T21:40:28

Some 31.1 million people in the United States watched the Michael Jackson memorial on television, with millions more catching video streams on their computers.

The Nielsen Media Research estimate on Wednesday provided only a slice of the audience for the Los Angeles event. But it did offer insight on how the memorial compared to other events: President Barack Obama’s inauguration in January was seen by 38 million people on TV, and the “American Idol” finale in May had 28.9 million viewers.

Eighteen different networks carried the memorial live, including all the big broadcasters and cable news stations, along with MTV, BET and the three largest Spanish-language stations. It had an audience share of 56, meaning that 56 percent of the televisions turned on during the memorial were tuned into Jackson.

Nielsen does not immediately have an estimate of Jackson’s worldwide audience, a task that could take weeks.

Twelve years ago, 33.2 million people in the U.S. watched Princess Diana’s funeral. That happened early on a Saturday morning, as opposed to the middle of a workday, and people then didn’t have the option of watching it on their computers.

Complete estimates of the Internet audience were not immediately available, but individual Web sites reported some heavy traffic. MSNBC.com said it streamed nearly 19 million videos on Tuesday, a record for the site. Video streamers spent an average of 12 minutes on the site, MSNBC.com reported.

CNN.com said it had 10.5 million live streams, the second busiest day in its history. It streamed nearly 27 million videos on Obama’s inauguration day. ABC News said its Web site had nearly 6 million video streams, with traffic up 70 percent over a typical day.

Nielsen said 3 percent of the online conversations on Tuesday were about the Jackson memorial, the third-highest percentage it has ever seen after the day Jackson died and Obama’s inauguration. Early indications are that Wednesday’s percentage was higher than Tuesday’s, Nielsen said.

The event combined musical moments from the likes of Usher, Jennifer Hudson and Mariah Carey with remembrances from Brooke Shields, Magic Johnson and others. Brief heartfelt remarks by Jackson’s 11-year-old daughter at the end stole the show.

Former President Reagan’s funeral in 2004 was seen by 20.8 million viewers in the daytime hours, but his prime-time burial had an audience of 35.1 million people, Nielsen said. The opening ceremony of last year’s Beijing Olympics had 34.2 million viewers.

Breaking down Tuesday’s audience, CNN and ABC both had 5.3 million viewers for the memorial, Nielsen said. NBC had 5.1 million, CBS had 3.9 million, Fox News Channel had 2.2 million and MSNBC had 1.4 million.

Even for those viewers who watched Tuesday’s Jackson memorial, there was still an appetite for more in prime time. ABC, CBS and NBC each had Jackson specials at 10 p.m. EDT and they had a combined audience of 20.5 million viewers. ABC won bragging rights for its Elizabeth Vargas-hosted hour focused on Jackson’s children, with a leading 8.6 million viewers.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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