‘60 Minutes' Interviews With Presidential Candidates Tops TV Ratings


HOLLYWOOD (CNS) -  Sunday's “60 Minutes'' broadcast with interviews of the major-party presidential nominees and their vice presidential running mates was the week's most-watched prime-time program, drawing its largest audience since March 25, 2018.

The CBS News magazine averaged 17.396 million viewers, the most for any program since the Oscars on Feb. 9, outside of sports and multi-network programming, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday.

“60 Minutes'' followed a 40-minute runover of CBS' afternoon NFL coverage into prime time in the Eastern and Central time zones where the bulk of the nation's population lives. The runover averaged 25.71 million viewers. It is not considered a separate program but is included in the network's weekly average.

The second and final presidential debate of the 2020 general election campaign Thursday averaged 62.973 million viewers across 15 broadcast and cable networks, 13.9 percent less than the 73.132 million average for the first debate Sept. 29.

Presidential debate viewership customarily drops from the first to second debate.

The first of three debates in the 2016 campaign averaged 84.011 million viewers while the second averaged 66.548 million, 20.8 percent less.

Just like the campaign's first debate, more viewers watched the debate on Fox News Channel than anywhere else, 15.466 million viewers.

Each of the first five Fox telecasts of the World Series averaged fewer viewers than any World Series game on record before this year.

The Dodgers' 8-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 on Oct. 20 averaged 9.268 million viewers, erasing the previous low of 10.219 million for Game 4 of last year's Series between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros.

The Rays' victory 6-4 in Game 2 the following day drew even less, 9.105 million viewers. The Dodgers' 6-2 victory in Game 3 Friday set another record low, 8.156 million viewers. Tampa Bay's 8-7 victory in Game 4 Saturday when the winning run scored on an error on the final at-bat averaged 9.332 million viewers.

The Dodgers' 4-2 victory in Game 5 Sunday averaged 10.059 million viewers, 11th among prime-time broadcast and cable programs between Oct. 19 and Sunday, trailing “60 Minutes,'' five debate-related programs and four NFL programs.

The Game 5 telecast began 20 minutes before NBC's “Sunday Night Football'' telecast. The Arizona Cardinals' 37-34 overtime victory over the previously undefeated Seattle Seahawks averaged 14.306 million viewers, third for the week.

Official viewership for nearly all forms of programming has decreased because of increased viewing of streaming programming.

Records are available dating back to 1968.

The World Series has aired on Fox each year since 2000.

The combination of the five World Series telecasts, “Thursday Night Football'' and the absence of customarily low-watched programming beginning at 10 p.m. made Fox the most-watched network, averaging 8.18 million viewers for its 21 hours, 11 minutes of prime-time programming.

NBC was second, averaging 5.82 million viewers, followed by Fox News Channel, which averaged 5.16 million, ABC, which averaged 4.59 million, and CBS, 4.37 million, all for 22 hours of programming.

NBC had the most-watched entertainment program, the Oct. 19 season premiere of “The Voice,'' which averaged 8.208 million viewers, the most for an entertainment program during the five-week-old 2020-21 prime-time television season.

Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network for the 39th time in 40 weeks, averaging 5.16 million viewers. MSNBC was second, averaging 2.647 million, and CNN third, averaging 2.395 million.

The Netflix psychological thriller “Ratched'' was the most-streamed program on the four services measured for the second consecutive weekly report from Nielsen released Thursday.

Viewers watched 1.632 billion minutes of the eight-episode series between Sept. 21-27. The series starring Sarah Paulson as the asylum nurse depicted in Ken Kesey's 1962 novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'' and 1975 film premiered Sept. 18.

The Netflix mystery film “Enola Holmes'' was second among programs streamed on Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu and Netflix, with viewers watching 1.165 billion minutes in the first five days it was available.

The most-watched Spanish-language program was the Billboard Latin Music Awards which averaged 1.643 million viewers, 68th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.

Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 47th consecutive week and 49th time in 50 weeks, averaging 1.1 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 1.01 million, followed by UniMas (460,000), Estrella TV (140,000) and Azteca America (50,000).

ABC's “World News Tonight with David Muir'' was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 47th consecutive week, the 98th time in 99 weeks and the 150th time in 152 weeks, averaging 8.627 million viewers.

The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt'' was second, averaging 7.219 million viewers followed by the “CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell'' which averaged 5.329 million.

The week's 10 most-watched prime-time programs were CBS' “60 Minutes''; the presidential debate on Fox News Channel, NBC's “Sunday Night Football''; Fox News Channel's 23-minute post-debate show; ESPN's “Monday Night Football'' game between the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys; Fox News Channel's 13-minute debate preview; the presidential debate on ABC; Fox's seven-minute NFL postgame show; the presidential debate on NBC; and Fox's “Thursday Night Football'' game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.

Photo: Getty Images

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