Both of last week’s prime-time television programs averaging more than 9 million viewers came from CBS News — the Democratic presidential debate and “60 Minutes.”
The Feb. 25 debate from Charleston, South Carolina averaged 15.336 million viewers, the most among prime-time broadcast and cable programs airing between Feb. 24 and Sunday, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.
Viewership was 22.4% less than the combined viewership of 19.782 million average for the Feb. 19 debate which aired on NBC and cable’s MSNBC, the most for a Democratic presidential debate.
Live programming, mainly NFL games, has topped the weekly ratings for all but one week of the 23-week-old 2019-20 season.
The CBS News magazine “60 Minutes” was second for the week, averaging 9.182 million viewers, after finishing sixth and seventh the previous two weeks. Sunday’s broadcast included an interview with former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
With CBS’ schedule altered by the debate, NBC had each of the week’s five most-watched entertainment programs, topped by the two-hour winter season premiere of the singing competition “The Voice” Feb. 24, which averaged 8.993 million viewers, third overall.
NBC’s “Chicago” franchise accounted for each of the three most-watched scripted programs. “Chicago Fire” was fourth for the week, averaging 8.657 million viewers. “Chicago Med,” which preceded “Chicago Fire,” was fifth, averaging 8.605 million viewers.
“Chicago PD,” which followed “Chicago Fire,” was seventh, averaging 8.116 million viewers, most among the week’s 10 p.m. dramas.
The debate prompted preemption of the CBS action drama “NCIS,” and its crime drama, “FBI,” the season’s two most-watched entertainment series.
CBS also opted to air a rerun of “Young Sheldon,” the season’s most-watched comedy. It was still the week’s most-watched comedy, averaging 6.026 million viewers, 16th overall.
CBS finished first in the network race for the third consecutive week and eighth time in the season, averaging 6.07 million viewers. It also had time-slot victories from its new Los Angeles-set crime drama “Tommy” and all three of its Friday series, “MacGyver,” “Hawaii Five-0” and a “Blue Bloods” rerun.
NBC was second for the second consecutive week, averaging 4.72 million, followed by ABC, which averaged 4.22 million.
Fox News Channel was third, averaging 3.033 million viewers. Fox averaged 2.56 million viewers for its 15 hours, 37 minutes of programming, its fourth consecutive fourth-place finish among the broadcast networks following Super Bowl LIV.
CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox News Channel each aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.
“American Idol” was ABC’s most-watched program for the third time in the three weeks it has aired this season, averaging 6.992 million viewers, 6.8% less than the 7.5 million-average a week earlier. The singing competition was ninth for the week, the same as the previous week.
Fox’s highest-rated program was “The Masked Singer,” 13th for the week, averaging 6.736 million viewers.
Fox News Channel had each of the 14 most-watched prime-time cable programs to finish first among cable networks for the sixth consecutive week, averaging 3.033 million viewers. The Wednesday edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” was the first among cable programs, averaging 4.193 million viewers, 36th overall.
MSNBC was second, averaging 1.797 million viewers, and CNN third, averaging 1.161 million.
The week’s most-watched Spanish-language program was Thursday’s finale of the Univision telenovela “Rubi” which averaged 1.993 million viewers, 74th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 13th consecutive week and 15th time in 16 weeks, averaging 1.43 million viewers.
Telemundo averaged 1.11 million viewers to finish second, followed by UniMas, which averaged 620,000, Estrella TV, which averaged 140,000 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 13th consecutive week, 64th time in 65 weeks and 116th time in 118 weeks, averaging 9.108 million viewers.
“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 7.823 million viewers. The “CBS Evening News” averaged 5.701 million viewers. It has finished third each week since the week of Sept. 25-29, 2006.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were CBS’ telecast of the Democratic presidential debate from Charleston, South Carolina and “60 Minutes”; NBC’s Feb. 24 episode of “The Voice,” “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med,” the Feb. 25 episode of “The Voice” and “Chicago PD”; CBS’ “Survivor”; ABC’s “American Idol”; and NBC’s “This Is Us.”