Viewership for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game set a record low for the third time in its last four editions but was the most-watched all-star game in sports for the seventh consecutive year it has been played, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday.
Fox’s coverage of the American League’s 3-2 victory at Dodger Stadium last Tuesday averaged 7.507 million viewers, the most among prime-time non-news broadcast and cable programs airing between July 18 and Sunday.
The previous low was 8.162 million for the 2019 game. The 2021 game averaged 8.316 million viewers. There was no All-Star Game in 2020 because of the delayed start to the season caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Viewership figures are available dating back to 1972, except for the 1974 and 1981 games.
Official viewership for most forms of programming is down compared to the past primarily due to higher viewership of streaming programming, including the same programs shown on traditional television, as well as increased options for leisure time.
The record audience for the All-Star Game came in 1976, when an average of 36.33 million viewers watched ABC’s coverage in an era where there were three major broadcast networks and few other television alternatives.
The audience was the largest for any prime-time, non-news program since ABC’s coverage of the concluding game of the NBA Finals on June 16 averaged 13.993 million viewers. It was the largest audience for a Fox program since Jan. 30, when its coverage of the NFC championship game averaged 50.225 million, a 14-minute postgame show averaged 26.523 million and the cooking competition “Next Level Chef” that followed the postgame show averaged 8.105 million viewers.
The game drew its second-largest rating in the Los Angeles market, 8.0. St. Louis, where the telecast began two hours later local time when more potential viewers were home, was first with a 10.4 rating.
The week’s most-watched cable non-news program was ESPN’s coverage of the Home Run Derby from Dodger Stadium, which averaged 6.02 million viewers, fourth for the week behind the All-Star Game, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” which averaged 6.153 million, and an edition of CBS’ “60 Minutes,” with three previously broadcast segments that were updated for Sunday’s broadcast, which averaged 6.13 million viewers.
Viewership was down 4.3% from the 2021 derby, which averaged 6.293 million viewers, its largest audience since 2017, when it averaged 8.176 million.
Thursday’s prime-time hearing of the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol averaged 17.667 million viewers across 10 networks. The other prime-time hearing, June 9, averaged 20.043 million across 11 networks.
MSNBC drew the largest audience for Thursday’s hearings, averaging 4.832 million viewers, fifth among the week’s prime-time programs.
ABC edged CBS, 2.75 million to 2.7 million, to be the most-watched network for the fifth time in the eight full weeks of television’s summer season.
ABC’s most-watched program was “Celebrity Family Feud,” seventh for the week, averaging 4.214 million for games matching the casts from Disney+’s “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” and the Netflix comedy “Never Have I Ever” and the families of comedian Ron Funches and actress Meagan Good.
Fox was third, averaging 2.58 million viewers for its 16 hours, 49 minutes of programming. NBC was fourth, averaging 2.56 million viewers.
The CW averaged 370,000 viewers for its 14 hours of programming. The 9:30 p.m. Friday rerun of “World’s Funniest Animals” was its most-watched program, averaging 540,000 viewers, 162nd among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
The 20 most-watched prime-time programs consisted of Fox’s coverage of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game; the Home Run Derby and its 23-minute “prelude” on ESPN; the CBS news magazine “60 Minutes”; NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”; two game shows and a rerun of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” on ABC; the 165- and 14-minute segments of coverage of the Jan. 6 committee hearing on MSNBC; the three hours of coverage on ABC and two hours, 43 minutes on CNN; reruns of three CBS scripted series; the Wednesday and Sunday editions of the CBS alternative series “Big Brother”; and three editions of the Fox News Channel political talk show “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network in prime time for the seventh consecutive week, averaging 2.185 million viewers. MSNBC was second, averaging 1.624 million and ESPN third, averaging 1.19 million. Hallmark Channel was the other cable network to average more than 1 million viewers in primetime, averaging 1.029 million.
The cable top 20 consisted of 14 Fox News Channel weeknight political talk shows — five broadcasts each of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and “Hannity” and four of “The Ingraham Angle”; the Home Run Derby and its 23-minute “prelude” on ESPN; the 165- and 14-minute segments of coverage of the Jan. 6 committee hearing on MSNBC and two hours, 43 minutes of coverage on CNN; and the July 18 edition of the MSNBC news and opinion program “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
The most-watched Spanish-language program was the Premios Juventud awards on Univision, which averaged 1.884 million viewers, 43rd among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 138th consecutive week and 140th time in 141 weeks, averaging 1.08 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 900,000 viewers, followed by UniMas (370,000), Estrella TV (100,000) and Azteca America (50,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched nightly newscast for the 137th time in 138 weeks and 189th time in 191 weeks, averaging 7.317 million viewers. “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 6.131 million.
The “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell” was third, averaging 4.588 million.
The averages for all three newscasts excluded Thursday when they were pre-empted in some markets because of coverage of the Jan. 6 committee hearing.
The fourth season of “Virgin River” was the most watched program on Netflix, with viewers spending 105.44 million hours watching the season’s 12 episodes of the romantic drama in their first five days of release, according to figures released by the streaming service Tuesday.
The nine-episode fourth season of “Stranger Things” was second with 74.99 million hours watched after finishing first for three consecutive weeks of seven of the previous eight.
“The Gray Man” was Netflix’s most-watched movie, with viewers spending 88.55 million hours watching the action thriller in its first three days of release. “The Sea Beast” was second with 34.14 million hours watched after finishing first the previous two weeks.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were Fox’s coverage of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game; NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; ESPN’s coverage of the Home Run Derby; the 165- and 14-minute segments of MSNBC’s coverage of the Jan. 6 committee hearing; ABC’s “Celebrity Family Feud” and its coverage of the Jan. 6 committee hearing; the 23-minute prelude to the Home Run Derby; and the Wednesday edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”