House Hearing Draws Largest Prime-Time Audience Since State of the Union

HOLLYWOOD (CNS) – Viewership for coverage of Thursday’s House Select Committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol was the most-watched prime-time program since President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address March 1, according to Nielsen.

The approximately two-hour hearing averaged 20.043 million viewers on the 11 networks for which figures were available. The figure did not include viewership on PBS due to PBS data delivery timing. The State of the Union address averaged 38.197 million viewers on 16 networks.

The hearing accounted for five of the 20 most-watched prime-time programs between June 6 and Sunday, topped by ABC, which averaged 5.216 million viewers, fifth for the week. MSNBC’s second hour of coverage was the week’s most-watched prime-time cable program, averaging 4.42 million viewers, sixth for the week.

The week’s most-watched individual program was ABC coverage of Game 4 of the NBA Finals, with the Golden State Warriors’ 107-97 victory over the Boston Celtics Friday averaging a series-high 12.063 million viewers. Boston’s 116-100 Game 3 victory two nights earlier was second for the week, averaging 11.523 million viewers.

The series is averaging 11.725 million viewers, the lowest when held during its customary time since 2007, but 26% higher than the 9.303 million average for the first four games of last year’s series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, which were played in July. In the most recent previous time the finals were played in their customary June time frame, the first four games between Golden State and the Toronto Raptors in 2019 averaged 13.353 million viewers.

For the second time in the two full weeks of television’s summer season, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” was the most-watched entertainment program, averaging 6.372 million viewers, third for the week. The NBA Finals made ABC the most-watched network for the second consecutive week, averaging 4.09 million viewers. Outside of its NBA Finals programming and House Select Committee hearing coverage, its most-watched program was a rerun of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” 13th for the week, averaging 3.735 million viewers.

CBS was second, averaging 3.25 million, and NBC third, averaging 2.67 million. ABC, CBS and NBC all aired 22 hours of prime-time programming. Fox averaged 1.44 million viewers for its 15 hours, 15 minutes of prime-time programming. “MasterChef” was its most-watched program for the second consecutive week, averaging 2.159 million viewers to finish 56th. The CW averaged 430,000 viewers for its 14 hours of programming. Its most-watched program for the second consecutive week was the crime drama “Walker,” which averaged 894,000 viewers, 114th among broadcast programs.

Its overall rank was not available. The 20 most-watched prime-time programs consisted of five programs covering the House Select Committee hearing — two hourlong programs on MSNBC and approximately two-hour programs on ABC, NBC and CBS; two NBA Finals games and two NBA Finals pregame shows; reruns of five CBS scripted programs; two CBS game shows, “Let’s Make a Deal Primetime” and “The Price is Right at

Night”; the CBS news magazine “60 Minutes”; CBS’ coverage of the Tony Awards; NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”; and a rerun of ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network in prime-time for the second consecutive week, averaging 2.226 million viewers. ESPN was second, averaging 1.701 million viewers. MSNBC was the only other cable network to average more than 1 million viewers for its prime-time programming, averaging 1.394 million viewers.

The cable top 20 consisted of five segments of coverage of the House Select Committee hearing — three 60-minute segments on MSNBC and 113- and 65-minute segments on CNN; 12 Fox News Channel political talk shows — five broadcasts each of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and “Hannity” and two of “The Ingraham Angle”; and three NHL Eastern Conference Finals games on ESPN. 

Fox News Channel aired its customary weeknight lineup of political talk shows — “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “Hannity” and “The Ingraham Angle” — while broadcasting the hearing on Fox Business Network. The most-watched Spanish-language program was Monday episode of the Univision telenovela “Mi fortuna es amarte,” which averaged 1.646 million viewers, 51st among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.

Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 132nd consecutive week and 134th time in 135 weeks, averaging 1.09 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 880,000 viewers, followed by UniMas (500,000), Estrella TV (100,000) and Azteca America (40,000).

ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched nightly newscast for the 131st time in 132 weeks and 183rd time in 185 weeks, averaging 7.026 million viewers. “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 5.994 million. The “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell” was third, averaging 4.431 million.

The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were ABC’s coverage of Games 4 and 3 of the NBA Finals; NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; ABC’s two-hour coverage of the House Select Committee hearing; the second hour of MSNBC’s committee hearing coverage; CBS’ coverage of the Tony Awards; the first hour of MSNBC’s committee hearing coverage; and CBS’ “FBI: Most Wanted” and “FBI.”

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