More people at home than usual and the absence of competition from game telecasts because of restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic helped coverage of Thursday’s first round of the NFL draft draw record viewership, averaging more than 15.6 million viewers.

ESPN’s traditional draft telecast averaged 7.859 million viewers, 56.7% more than last year’s average of 5.015 million viewers. The ESPN broadcast was first among cable programs between April 20 and Sunday and seventh overall, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.

ABC’s telecast was 20th for the week and second among ABC programs, averaging 5.681 million viewers, 24.5% more than last year’s average of 4.564 million viewers.

The NFL Network, ESPN Deportes and digital channels also provided coverage of the draft, which was conducted on a virtual basis because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The previous record viewership for the first round was 12.4 million viewers in 2014.

The CBS news magazine “60 Minutes” was the week’s only other program to average more than 10 million viewers, averaging 10.898 million, its largest viewership since March 22.

Even with airing reruns of the season’s most-watched drama, “NCIS,” and comedy, “Young Sheldon,” CBS finished first in the network race for the 11th consecutive week and the 16th time in the 31-week-old 2019-20 prime-time television season.

NBC was second, averaging 3.98 million viewers, followed by ABC, which averaged 3.63 million.

Fox was fourth among the broadcast networks for the 12th time in the 12 weeks following its Super Bowl LIV telecast, averaging 2.86 million viewers for its 15 hours of prime-time programming.

CBS, ABC and NBC each aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.

CBS had the week’s most-watched scripted program, “Blue Bloods” which averaged 8.018 million viewers, sixth for the week and the first among 10 p.m. dramas. An “NCIS” rerun was eighth for the week, averaging 7.739 million, more than any scripted program on rival networks.

CBS also had the most-watched comedy, “Man With a Plan,” 17th overall, averaging 5.834 million viewers, following a rerun of “Young Sheldon” that averaged 5.747 million viewers, 19th for the week.

With a declining amount of original scripted programming available, partially due to the coronavirus pandemic, alternative programs were the most-watched shows on NBC, Fox and ABC and second at CBS.

NBC had the week’s most-watched alternative program, “The Voice,” which averaged 9.181 million viewers, third for the week, one spot ahead of CBS’ “Survivor,” which averaged 8.177 million viewers.

ABC’s most-watched program was “American Idol,” 16th for the week, averaging 6.085 million viewers.

“The Masked Singer” was Fox’s most-watched program, averaging 8.142 million viewers, fifth for the week.

The premiere of “The Masked Singer: After The Mask” that followed averaged 5.382 million viewers, 22nd for the week and third among Fox programs, also trailing the procedural drama “9-1-1” which averaged 6.843 million viewers, 10th for the week.

Sports-related programming also accounted for the week’s second- and third-most watched prime-time cable programs.

The third episode of the 10-part documentary on Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls, “The Last Dance,” averaged 6.144 million viewers on ESPN and ESPN2 on Sunday, putting it 14th for the week. The fourth episode that followed averaged 5.657 million viewers, 21st for the week.

Fox News Channel was first among cable networks for the 14th consecutive week, averaging 3.269 million viewers. Its most-watched prime-time program was the Tuesday edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” which averaged 4.704 million viewers, fourth among cable programs and 32nd overall.

ESPN was second among cable networks, averaging 2.56 million viewers. MSNBC averaged 1.929 million viewers to finish third after second-place finishes seven of the previous nine weeks.

An episode of the Univision telenovela “Amor eterno” was the most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program for the fourth consecutive week, with the Wednesday episode averaging 2.055 million viewers, 68th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.

Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 21st consecutive week and 23rd time in 24 weeks, averaging 1.42 million viewers.

Telemundo was second, averaging 980,000 viewers, followed by UniMas (510,000), Estrella TV (200,000) and Azteca America (50,000).

ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 21st consecutive week, the 72nd time in 73 weeks and the 124th time in 126 weeks, averaging 10.198 million viewers.

“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second (9.649 million viewers), followed by the “CBS Evening News” (6.69 million).

The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were the first round of the NFL draft; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; NBC’s “The Voice”; CBS’ “Survivor”; Fox’s “The Masked Singer”; CBS’ “Blue Bloods”; ESPN’s coverage of the first round of the NFL draft; and CBS’ “NCIS” and “Magnum P.I.”

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