Fox News Channel’s coverage of the Republican National Convention drew the second-largest weekly prime-time audience of its nearly 24-year history, behind only the first week of the Iraq War, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday.
Fox News Channel averaged 5.123 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Aug. 24 and Sunday. The only week it averaged more was March 17-23, 2003, when it averaged 5.582 million viewers.
The audience was the largest for any network since the week of May 4-10, when CBS averaged 5.88 million.
Fox News Channel convention-related programming accounted for each of the week’s nine most-watched prime-time programs, topped by Thursday’s coverage, which included President Donald Trump’s acceptance speech, which averaged 9.058 million viewers. The audience was the largest for a prime-time program since May 26, when the two-hour season premiere of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” averaged 9.899 million viewers.
The week’s most-watched non-convention-related program was ABC’s commercial-free presentation of “Black Panther,” which averaged 6.272 million viewers, the most for an ABC prime-time program since the June 4 episode of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” averaged 6.516 million.
“Black Panther,” which was 10th for the week, ended “America’s Got Talent’s” streak of being the week’s most-watched entertainment program every week an original episode has aired since its 2016 season premiere.
The week’s most-watched prime-time sporting event was the NASCAR Coke Zero Sugar 400 stock car race on NBC, which averaged 3.869 million viewers, putting it 23rd for the week and first among Saturday’s prime-time programming.
NBC was second among the broadcast and cable networks, averaging 2.77 million, followed by ABC (2.75 million) and CBS (2.38 million).
NBC’s most-watched program was the Tuesday episode of “America’s Got Talent,” which averaged 5.635 million viewers, 15th for the week, third among non-convention programming and second among entertainment programming.
CBS’ most-watched program was a broadcast of its news magazine “60 Minutes” with two previously broadcast segments that were updated. It averaged 6.205 million viewers, 11th for the week and second among non-convention programming.
Fox averaged 1.11 million viewers for its 16 hours of prime-time programming, fourth among the English-language broadcast networks and 12th overall, trailing six cable networks, the Spanish-language Univision network and Ion Television, which broadcasts reruns of programming that originally aired on the major broadcast networks.
All the networks Fox trailed aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.
Fox’s most-watched program was “WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown” professional wrestling program, which averaged 2.141 million viewers, 32nd among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
NBA playoff coverage made TNT the week’s second-most watched cable network, averaging 1.537 million viewers.
MSNBC averaged 1.526 million viewers to finish third among cable networks, one week after its coverage of the Democratic National Convention enabled it to end Fox News Channel’s 30-week streak as cable’s most-watched network.
An episode of the Univision telenovela “Como tu no hay 2” was the most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program for the third consecutive week, with the Tuesday episode averaging 1.839 million viewers, 44th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 39th consecutive week and 41st time in 42 weeks, averaging 1.23 million viewers, followed by Telemundo (1 million viewers), UniMas (360,000), Estrella TV (130,000) and Azteca America (60,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 39th consecutive week, the 90th time in 91 weeks and the 142nd time in 144 weeks, averaging 8.738 million viewers.
“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 7.241 million viewers, followed by the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” which averaged 5.13 million viewers.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were Fox News Channel’s coverage of the Republican National Convention Thursday and Tuesday; the Thursday, Wednesday and Tuesday editions of the Fox News Channel political talk show “Hannity”; Fox News Channel’s coverage of the Republican National Convention Monday and Wednesday; the Monday edition of “Hannity”; the Thursday edition of the Fox News Channel political talk show “Tucker Carlson Tonight”; and ABC’s commercial-free presentation of “Black Panther.”