MSNBC drew record viewership for its prime-time coverage of the Democratic National Convention and the first overall victory in its 24-year history, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday.
MSNBC averaged 3.272 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Aug. 17 and Sunday. Its previous high was 2.42 million the week of March 10-16, when much of the nation was placed under stay-at-home orders because of the coronavirus pandemic.
MSNBC’s coverage of the acceptance speeches by presidential nominee Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris accounted for two of the week’s three prime-time programs to average more than 6 million viewers.
MSNBC’s 39-minute coverage of Biden’s speech Thursday averaged 6.236 million viewers. Its two-hour, 13-minute coverage of Wednesday’s proceedings, which included Harris’ speech, averaged 6.199 million viewers.
The week’s other program to average more than 6 million viewers was Sunday’s edition of CBS’ “60 Minutes” with three previously broadcast segments that were updated and averaged 7.225 million viewers, the most for a prime-time program since a July 14 “America’s Got Talent” episode on NBC averaged 7.632 million viewers.
This was the fifth time “60 Minutes” has been the most-watched program during the 13 weeks of television’s 2020 summer season. “America’s Got Talent” finished first the other eight.
The Aug. 18 “America’s Got Talent” episode was the week’s most-watched entertainment program, averaging 5.579 million viewers, putting it seventh overall.
An “America’s Got Talent” episode has been the week’s most-watched entertainment program every week an original episode has aired since its 2016 season premiere.
Sunday’s third-season finale of the Paramount Network neo-Western “Yellowstone” was second among entertainment programs and eighth overall, averaging 5.158 million viewers, the most for a cable entertainment program this year.
While MSNBC’s convention coverage ended Fox News Channel’s 30-week streak as cable’s most-watched network, it was still second among all networks, averaging 3.092 million viewers, one week after its third overall first-place finish of the summer.
CBS was third, averaging 3.03 million, followed by CNN (2.77 million), ABC (2.6 million) and NBC (2.42 million).
Fox was fourth among the English-language broadcast networks and 13th overall, trailing seven cable networks, the Spanish-language Univision network and Ion Television, which broadcasts reruns of programming that originally aired on the major broadcast networks.
Fox averaged 1.21 million viewers for its 16 hours of prime-time programming. Its most-watched program was a rerun of the procedural drama “9-1-1,” which averaged 2.202 million viewers, 38th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
All the networks Fox trailed aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.
ABC’s most-watched program was the first joint network interview with Biden and Harris, “The Ticket — The First Interview,” which averaged 5.107 million viewers, 10th overall.
The hourlong interview was the first ABC prime-time program to average more than 5 million viewers since the July 12 “Celebrity Family Feud” episode which averaged 5.126 million.
ABC aired the week’s most-watched prime-time sporting event, the Los Angeles Lakers’ 116-108 victory over Portland Saturday in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series, which averaged 3.828 million viewers, 32nd for the week, but was first among Saturday prime-time program.
An episode of the Univision telenovela “Como tu no hay 2” was the most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program for the second consecutive week, with the Tuesday episode averaging 1.861 million viewers, 54th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 38th consecutive week and 40th time in 41 weeks, averaging 1.34 million viewers.
Telemundo was second, averaging 990,000 viewers, followed by UniMas (320,000), Estrella TV (130,000) and Azteca America (50,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 38th consecutive week, the 89th time in 90 weeks and the 141st time in 143 weeks, averaging 8.18 million viewers.
“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 6.835 million viewers, followed by the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” which averaged 4.856 million viewers.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were CBS’ “60 Minutes”; MSNBC’s coverage of the Biden and Harris acceptance speeches at the Democratic National Convention; CNN’s coverage of Harris’ acceptance speech; MSNBC’s first 107 minutes of coverage of Thursday’s convention session; CNN’s coverage of Thursday’s convention session; the Tuesday episode of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”; Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone”; the Wednesday episode of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”; and ABC News’ “The Ticket — The First Interview.”
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