Even another record-low audience for the Oscars was enough to give ABC its second weekly ratings victory in the 2020-21 prime-time television season, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.
Viewership for ABC’s coverage of three-hour, 10-minute host-less ceremony at Union Station plummeted to 10.403 million viewers, 55.9% less the 23.569-million average for the 2020 ceremony, which had been a record low.
The audience for Sunday’s Oscars telecast was still the largest for an ABC prime-time entertainment program since last year’s Academy Awards ceremony and topped the weekly ratings.
The Oscars were the second ABC program in the 31-week-old 2020-21 prime-time season to finish first in the ratings, joining the network’s two-hour town hall with Joe Biden, “The Vice President and the People,” the most-watched program in the season’s fourth week.
The Oscars ended CBS’ 13-week streak of having the most-watched prime-time program.
While the Oscars retained its customary distinction as the television season’s most-watched awards show, it lost the title of the most-watched entertainment program to CBS’ post-Super Bowl premiere of the reimagined version of “The Equalizer,” which averaged 20.404 million viewers Feb. 7.
There were three prime-time programs between April 19 and Sunday outside of the Oscars to average more than 7 million viewers — the CBS News magazine “60 Minutes,” which averaged 7.185 million viewers; the NBC drama “Chicago Med,” which averaged 7.151 million; and the CBS comedy “Young Sheldon,” which averaged 7.007 million.
ABC averaged 4.05 million viewers for the week. Its other weekly victory came in the season’s second week, Sept. 28-Oct. 4 when it when it aired three NBA Finals games and its coverage of a presidential debate topped the broadcast networks.
ABC’s most-watched program other than its Oscars programming was “Grey’s Anatomy,” 18th for the week averaging 4.814 million viewers.
CBS finished second after 13 consecutive first-place finishes, averaging 3.81 million viewers.
CBS’ weekly average suffered by its decision last Tuesday to air repeats of “NCIS” and “FBI,” the season’s second- and third-most watched entertainment programs, that night after the announcement that a verdict had been reached in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin trial.
CBS replaced an original episode of “FBI: Most Wanted” planned for that night with a news special on the verdict.
NBC was third for the second consecutive week and fourth time in five weeks, averaging 3.51 million viewers.
Fox was fourth for the 13th consecutive week, averaging 2.73 million viewers for its 15 hours of programming. The CW again was fifth among the five major English-language broadcast networks, averaging 530,000 viewers for its 12 hours.
CBS, NBC and ABC each aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.
Fox’s most-watched program was the first original episode of the procedural drama “9-1-1” since March 8 which averaged 6.246 million viewers, eighth for the week. A “9-1-1” episode has been Fox’s most-watched program all nine weeks it has aired this season.
The martial arts action-adventure series “Kung Fu” was The CW’s most-watched program for the third time in the three weeks it has aired, averaging 1.067 million viewers, 113th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
The most-watched prime-time cable program was the hourlong interview of former President Donald Trump on the April 19 edition of the Fox News Channel political talk show “Hannity” which averaged 4.09 million viewers, 26th overall.
Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network in prime time for the fourth consecutive week and 12th time in 13, averaging 2.227 million viewers.
The second- and third-place finishers were the same as the previous two weeks with MSNBC averaging 1.454 million viewers and HGTV averaging 1.291 million.
The most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was the Wednesday episode of the Univision drama anthology “La Rosa de Guadalupe” which averaged 1.721 million viewers to finish 67th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 73rd consecutive week and 75th time in 76 weeks, averaging 1.36 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 1.03 million viewers, followed by UniMas (590,000), Estrella TV (140,000) and Azteca America (60,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 73rd consecutive week, the 124th time in 125 weeks and the 176th time in 178 weeks, averaging 8.081 million viewers.
“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 6.524 million viewers, followed by the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” which averaged 4.935 million viewers.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were ABC’s coverage of the Oscars; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; NBC’s “Chicago Med”; CBS’ “Young Sheldon”; NBC’s “Chicago Fire” and “The Voice”; a rerun of CBS’ “NCIS”; Fox’s “9-1-1”; NBC’s “Chicago P.D.”; and a rerun of CBS’ “FBI.”
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