The Democratic presidential debates last week drew the largest and third-largest viewership of all time, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen.
Thursday’s debate averaged a combined 18.1 million viewers on NBC, cable’s MSNBC and the Spanish-language network Telemundo, the most for a Democratic presidential debate. The previous high was 15.79 million for the Oct. 13, 2015 debate which aired on CNN.
The Wednesday debate averaged 15.3 million viewers on the same platforms.
The only program outside the debates to average more than 7 million viewers between June 24 and Sunday was NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” which averaged 10.135 million viewers, the most for an entertainment program since “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s `All in the Family’ and `The Jeffersons,”’ on ABC averaged 10.374 million viewers May 22.
“America’s Got Talent” has been the most-watched entertainment program each week an original episodes aired which dates back at least to the summer of 2017.
CBS’ most-watched program was an episode of “60 Minutes” which averaged 6.999 million viewers, fourth overall, according to figures released Tuesday. ABC’s most-watched program was “The Bachelorette,” fifth among broadcast programs, averaging 5.737 million.
The week’s only premiere on the four major broadcast networks, the Fox aftershow spoof “What Just Happened??! With Fred Savage,” averaged 697,000 viewers, 174th among the week’s broadcast programs, one spot behind a rerun of the 1965-71 CBS comedy “Green Acres,” on MeTV. Its overall ranking was not available.
NBC was the week’s most-watched network, averaging 4.92 million viewers. CBS was second, averaging 3.63 million, and ABC third, averaging 3.26 million.
Fox was fourth for the 23rd time in 24 weeks, averaging 1.86 million viewers for its 15 hours, 43 minutes of programming. Its most-watched program was “MasterChef,” 43rd among broadcast programs, averaging 2.935 million viewers.
CBS, NBC and ABC each aired 22 hours of prime-time programming for ratings purposes.
Despite MSNBC’s debate coverage, Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network for the fifth consecutive week, averaging 2.373 million viewers. MSNBC was second, averaging 2.302 million viewers. ESPN was third, averaging 1.275 million.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the second consecutive week after two consecutive second-place finishes, averaging 1.37 million viewers. Telemundo finished second for the second consecutive week after two consecutive victories, averaging 1.08 million.
UniMas was third, averaging 540,000, followed by Estrella TV, which averaged 170,000 viewers, and Azteca America, which averaged 60,000.
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 31st consecutive week and 82nd time in the past 83 weeks, averaging 7.815 million viewers.
The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 6.771 million viewers. The “CBS Evening News” averaged 5 million viewers. It has finished third each week since the week of Sept. 25-29, 2006.
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