CNN Draws Record Viewership For Coverage of Assault on Capitol
By STEVEN HERBERT
City News Service
HOLLYWOOD (CNS) – CNN drew the largest single-day audience in its 40-year history for coverage of last Wednesday’s assault on the U.S. Capitol, averaging 5.221 million viewers, and was the week’s most-watched cable network in prime time, averaging 4.108 million viewers.
CNN had the two most-watched prime-time cable programs between Jan. 4 and Sunday, the Wednesday edition of “Anderson Cooper 360,” which averaged 8.867 million viewers, eighth for the week, and “Cuomo Prime Time,” which followed, averaging 8.785 million, ninth for the week, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.
MSNBC was second among cable networks, averaging 3.669 million viewers. Its most-watched prime-time program was a 54-minute special report on the attack which averaged 8.487 million viewers, third among cable programs and 10th overall.
Fox News Channel was third among cable networks, averaging 3.097 million viewers, its most since the week of Nov. 9-15 when it averaged 3.358 million viewers. Its most-watched prime-time program was the Wednesday edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” which averaged 5.998 million viewers, 18th among the week’s broadcast and cable programs.
With no original episodes of the season’s three most-watched entertainment programs — CBS’ “NCIS” and “FBI” and NBC’s “Chicago Fire” — airing during the week, the premiere of ABC’s “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” drew the largest audience among entertainment programs.
“Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” averaged 8.149 million viewers, first in its 8-9 p.m. Thursday time slot, 11th among prime-time broadcast and cable programs.
The premiere of the game show “The Chase” that followed averaged 6.485 million viewers, 16th overall, 10th among non-sports programs and third among entertainment programs.
“Mr. Mayor,” which aired opposite the first half of “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune,” averaged 5.046 million viewers, the most among the 13 comedies to have premiered on NBC since 2017. It was third in its Thursday 8-8:30 p.m. time slot, 32nd for the week, 26th among non-sports programs and 14th among entertainment programs.
A second episode that aired from 8:30-9 p.m. Thursday averaged 4.413 million viewers, also third in the time slot, 41st for the week, 33rd among non-sports programs and 19th among entertainment programs.
The week’s first premiere on the major broadcast networks, the ABC game show “The Hustler,” averaged 2.084 million viewers Jan. 4, 64th among the week’s network programming. Its overall rank was not available. It retained 39.6 percent of the audience of the season premiere of “The Bachelor” which preceded it.
“The Bachelor” averaged 5.26 million viewers, 26th for the week, 20th among non-sports programs and 10th among entertainment programs.
The second episode of “The Hustler” that aired after “The Chase” averaged 3.991 million viewers, third in its Thursday 10-11 p.m. time slot behind “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” on MSNBC which averaged 4.626 million and “CNN Tonight” which averaged 4.172 million, 30th among network programming. Its overall rank was not available.
The premiere of the Fox game show “Name That Tune” averaged 3.06 million viewers, 44th among network programming. It was Fox’s fourth most-watched entertainment program, including topping “The Masked Dancer” that preceded it and averaged 2.942 million viewers.
With two NFL playoff games drawing prime-time’s largest audiences of the season, NBC averaged 8.61 million viewers for the week, the most for any network during the 16-week-old 2020-21 television season. The previous high was 8.18 million by Fox the week of Oct. 19-25 when its 21 hours and 11 minutes of programming included five World Series games.
CBS was second, averaging 5.74 million. ABC was third among the broadcast networks, averaging 3.84 million viewers, followed by Fox, which averaged 2.48 million for its 15 hours, two minutes of prime-time programming.
NBC, CBS and ABC all aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.
The Cleveland Browns’ 48-37 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL wild-card round playoff game Sunday on NBC averaged 24.784 million viewers, the most for a prime-time program this season, erasing the previous high of 21.371 million set a day earlier for NBC’s coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 31-23 victory over the Washington Football Team in a wild-card round playoff game.
The season’s high before Saturday was 19.573 million for the Kansas City Chiefs’ 35-31 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” Nov. 22.
NBC’s most-watched program outside of its football coverage was the drama “This Is Us,” which averaged 5.206 million viewers, 29th for the week, 23rd among non-sports programs and 12th among entertainment programs.
CBS benefited from a 55-minute runover of its coverage of Sunday’s wild-card round playoff game between the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears that averaged 29.946 million viewers. The runover is not considered a separate program but is included in the weekly average.
CBS had the most-watched non-sports program, “60 Minutes,” which was sixth for the week, averaging 14.798 million viewers, its most since Oct. 25.
CBS also had the most-watched scripted program, the police drama “Blue Bloods,” 15th overall, ninth among non-sports programs and second among entertainment programs, averaging 6.563 million viewers.
Fox’s most-watched program outside of its football coverage was “Last Man Standing,” 38th among broadcast programs, averaging 3.308 million viewers. Its overall rank was not available.
For the third time in four weeks, an episode of the Univision telenovela “Vencer el desamor” was the most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program, with the Monday episode averaging 1.973 million viewers, 67th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 58th consecutive week and 60th time in 61 weeks, averaging 1.36 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 920,000, followed by UniMas (330,000), Estrella TV (180,000) and Azteca America (80,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 58th consecutive week, the 109th time in 110 weeks and the 161st time in 163 weeks, averaging 9.189 million viewers.
“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 7.866 million viewers, followed by the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” which averaged 5.794 million viewers.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s coverage of the Cleveland Browns-Pttsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Washington Football Team wild-card round playoff games; the 10-minute pre-kickoff show preceding Sunday’s Cleveland-Pittsburgh game; Fox’s first six-minute postgame show following Saturday’s Los Angeles Rams-Seattle Seahawks wild-card round playoff game; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; a second six-minute postgame show following the Rams-Seahawks game; Wednesday’s editions of “Anderson Cooper 360” and “Cuomo Prime Time” on CNN; and MSNBC’s 54-minute special report assault on the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.